Senate Dem vows to filibuster encryption bill

Senate Dem vows to filibuster encryption bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDems seek to seize on data privacy as midterm issue Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Senate confirms Trump Homeland Security cyber pick MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday vowed to filibuster a Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill that would give law enforcement greater access to locked data.

“Americans who value their security and liberty must join together to oppose this dangerous proposal,” the tech-focused lawmaker said in a statement just after an official discussion draft of the bill was released.

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“I intend to oppose this bill in committee and if it reaches the Senate floor, I will filibuster it,” added Wyden, an Intelligence panel member.

The measure, from Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFormer Senate intel aide indicted for perjury makes first court appearance The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Washington's week of 'we'll see' Former Senate Intel aide indicted in DOJ leak case MORE (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Senate rejects effort to boost Congress's national security oversight Top Dems: IG report shows Comey's actions helped Trump win election MORE (D-Calif.), would force companies to provide “technical assistance” to government investigators seeking secure data.

An initial discussion draft was first made public by The Hill last week.

The effort is a response to concerns that criminals are increasingly using encrypted technology to hide from authorities.

While law enforcement has long pressed Congress for legislation that would give investigators greater access to encrypted data, the tech community and privacy advocates warn that such access would undermine security and endanger online privacy.

Wyden’s remarks are not a surprise. The privacy advocate has previously said he would “use every power” to stop what he sees as an anti-encryption bill.

“This legislation would effectively prohibit Americans from protecting themselves as much as possible,” Wyden said Wednesday. “It would outlaw the strongest types of encryption and undermine the foundation of cybersecurity for millions of Americans.”

Giving the government guaranteed access to encrypted data “would leave Americans more vulnerable to stalkers, identity thieves, foreign hackers and criminals,” Wyden said.

And the Oregon Democrat doesn't believe the power would actually help law enforcement uncover more criminal plots.

“It will not make us safer from terrorists or other threats,” Wyden said.