SPONSORED:

Encryption commission bill picks up more backers

A bill to create a national commission to study how law enforcement can get at secure data without endangering Americans’ privacy rights is getting more backing from a bipartisan group of senators.

This week, four more lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors to the measure from Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerA bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Five ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington MORE (D-Va.), giving it 14 official backers, Warner’s office confirmed.

ADVERTISEMENT

The new sponsors are Republican Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (Ohio) and Mike Rounds (S.D.) and Democratic Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichGroups petition EPA to remove ethane and methane from list of compounds exempt from emissions limits Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure MORE (N.M.).

The additional support cements the commission as Capitol Hill’s most broadly supported legislative response to growing concerns that encryption is stymying law enforcement from conducting regular investigations.

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina mayor Rett Newton launches Senate bid Democratic hopeful Jeff Jackson raises .3M for North Carolina Senate bid Rick Scott 'very optimistic' Grassley will run for another term MORE (R-N.C.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCaitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision MORE (D-Calif.) — leaders of the Intelligence Committee — have also released the draft text of legislation that would require tech companies to help investigators access encrypted data.

Prominent law enforcement officials and the trade groups representing them have strongly backed the bill as necessary to to doing police work. 

But the effort has been met with pushback on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who are concerned the bill’s requirements would undermine the security of all digital products that protect Americans’ personal information from hackers.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally A bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure MORE (D-Ore.), a tech-focused privacy advocate, has vowed to filibuster the measure, and major Silicon Valley players like Facebook and Google have recently called the measure “unworkable.”

Instead, many have pressed the two sides to find a middle-ground solution.

Warner’s commission would bring these players to the table, and give them a year to deliver recommendations to Congress. The panel’s scope would expand beyond encryption, and explore more broadly how authorities can maintain security with the proliferation of modern technology.

The idea has picked up some support from cyber lawmakers, including Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (R-Maine), Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), who chairs a top cyber-oriented subcommittee, and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonWhy does Rep. Johnson oppose NASA's commercial human landing system? Trump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida Overnight Defense: Top House Armed Services Republican talks National Guard at Capitol, Afghanistan, more | Pentagon chief visits Afghanistan amid administration's review | Saudis propose Yemen ceasefire MORE (D-Fla.), the ranking member of the Commerce Committee.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Trump endorses Rand Paul for reelection MORE (R-Wis.) has also told The Hill he will back the bill, although he has not signed on as a co-sponsor.

The House’s companion bill, from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was also introduced with 15 bipartisan co-sponsors.

“The challenge of protecting national security and digital security simultaneously is complex,” McCaul said when he introduced the bill.