New Bill in US to Lock out FBI Back Door Access to Users’ Data

Senator Ron Wyden Secure Data Act may turn tables on NSA, FBI and other intelligence agencies who rely of back door holes in communications to eavesdrop on cellphone users. The bill which is awaiting Senate approval, has been hailed by Americans as move in the right direction, towards a more secure nation.

A new privacy bill by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) may be the last nail on NSA’s coffin if approved by the Senate in its current form. The Bill known as the “Secure Data Act” will make it hard for intelligence agencies to compel electronics manufacturers to create back door holes in their product to make easy for agencies to access user’s data.

The NSA, FBI and other government intelligence agencies have a long history of sabotaging strong encryption, to get an easy pass to users’ email accounts and tap into cellphone networks with ease. This also gives hackers an easy day hacking into our computer networks and risks the safety of the same people these agencies claim to protect. “Technology mandates to weaken data security for the purpose of aiding government investigations would compromise national security, economic security and personal privacy,” concurs Sen. Wyden.

Sen. Wyden, a democrat from Oregon, is an ardent privacy advocate who believe sabotaging encryption and other crooked means applied by agencies to tap into private communications only “harms American liberty and the American economy without making the country safer”. The senator said strong encryption is the only sure to keep Americans safe from cyber-attacks. “It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person’s whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone.”

Recently, Apple and Google moved to strengthen encryption on their devices, something that never settled well with FBI director James Comey. Apple introduces encryption under its lasted iOS 8, making it impossible to access customers’ data even with a court warrant. Google on the other hand introduced end-to-end encryption locking out snoopy agencies from intercepting private communication.

Comey was “very concerned” by Apple and Google’s decision to go dark saying it would limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate crime and prosecute offenders.  According to Comey, strongly encryption announces to criminals a safe haven to commit crimes and be above the law. “I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country is beyond the law,” Comey said in October. “The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened — even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order — to me does not make any sense.”

For long, intelligence agencies have invoked the Nation Security clause as an excuse for violating personal privacy. Comey is on record urging the US Congress to pass a legislation that would compel companies to allow the feds into their data bases. FBI chief suggested inclusion of more companies under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which compels telecommunication companies to give the feds back door access to their data bases.

This new bill has received mixed reactions from the American public, with some saying it help rebuild America’s trust in technology while others like Comey believe the bills spells doom for America if passed. Sen. Wyden believe the bill is a warning message to agencies to divert their resources from engineering new “ways to vacuum up Americans private information” and focus on the real job of protecting Americans.

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New Bill in US to Lock out FBI Back Door Access to Users’ Data

by Ali Qamar time to read: 2 min
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