US Senator Introduces Bill To Ban FBI Backdoors in Devices

US Senator Ron Wyden has introduced a new bill that bans the government from planting backdoors into US tech electronics and software. The ‘Secure Data Act’ is aimed to protect data security and privacy of all US citizens.

The Oregon senator’s bill specifically bans agencies from forcing software developers and device manufacturers to modify their products to make it easy for the agencies to conduct surveillance or search information on users.

The Verge cited Wyden saying:

“Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans’ data safe from hackers and foreign threats,” said Wyden in a statement. “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.”

This comes after Edward Snowden’s leaks of NSA-classified documents showed that the government has been involved in a massive number of privacy breaches. Google, Apple and other tech companies said they would, by default, start encrypting data on handsets.

The FBI head James Corney proposed to update the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, under which telecom companies are required to provide wiretap access, which helps in targeted surveillance.

“The more we as a society rely on these devices, the more important they are to law enforcement and public safety officials,” Corney said in October.

The bill adds that: “Once a backdoor is built in a security system, the security of the system is inherently compromised.”

“companies have less incentive to invest in the development and deployment of strong new data security technologies if they are required to compromise them from the outset.”

Though the government claims that no built-in backdoor has been requested on their part, they said an entrance was asked through the front door ‘with clarity and transparency.’

Wyden believes his bill will rebuild trust in US-based technology companies.