A new threat looms for tech companies: the anti-encryption bill

encryption bill underway protects your most private data
Apple may have won a battle with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice in the San Bernardino case, but an anti-encryption bill could undermine the company’s effort to protect its customers’ data.

The bill comes from the Select Committee on Intelligence, penned by Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Diane Feinstein, D-Ca., and is currently a discussion draft.

The bill proposes to require companies like Apple and Google to comply with court orders when law enforcement is trying to gain access to encrypted data. That means Apple would have had to comply in the San Bernardino case. Gaining such access, law enforcement and lawmakers believe, will provide more data and insight into criminal and terrorism investigations.

The FBI dropped its request for a court order after it found a way to hack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. The FBI is now offering the technique to various law enforcement agencies around the country in order to provide them access to other iPhones implicated in criminal investigations.

If the bill ever passes into law, it would go against what hundreds of security experts, law professors, tech companies, and human rights and privacy groups have advised — that leaving backdoor access for the government would threaten online privacy. And while President Barack Obama has urged the tech industry to work with law enforcement, it’s unlikely the administration will back the bill as it has previously backed off of legislation demanding access.

“This is truly a draft piece of legislation,” Burr said, according to The Hill. “It’s for recommendations.”

This means the bill’s language could change as it progresses through Congress. Currently, another bill backed by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., seeks to establish a “national commission” to study the subject of encryption and criminal investigations. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already opposed that bill.

“The commission is set to ask questions already answered in the 1990s like whether or not the government should mandate backdoors or otherwise change current law,” the EFF said in a blog post. “The answer is no.”

It’s an understatement to say the committee’s anti-encryption bill will face stiff opposition from the tech industry and privacy groups.

Updated on 04/14/16 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in official draft information.

Product Review

The Motorola One Action’s wide-angle camera is the bane of vertical videos

Motorola’s latest phone is called the Motorola One Action, and it wants to end vertical videos once and for all. The unique action camera lets you film in portrait orientation, yet still captures landscape footage.
News

Lawsuit over Capital One data breach could eventually get you sweet revenge

The law firm Colson Hicks Eidson has filed a class-action lawsuit against Capital One “for negligence in failing to safeguard consumers’ personal information” in the recent data breach that impacted 100 million consumers.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Social Media

The EU could hit Facebook with billions in fines over privacy violations

The European Union is reportedly nearing the end of its investigations into some of the cases it has opened against Facebook pertaining to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. The EU currently has 11 open cases against the…
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited to a different occasion.
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Mobile

Critical Bluetooth security bug discovered. Protect yourself with a quick update

Researchers have discovered a major new security flaw in Bluetooth, which could leave millions of devices at risk of a malicious hack. The attack allows a hacker to “break” Bluetooth security without anyone knowing.
Mobile

Go monochrome with some of the best black-and-white photo apps

Despite the ubiquity of color images native to digital cameras and smartphones, the emotion and drama of black-and-white photography maintain their allure. Here are a few of our favorite monochrome shooting and editing apps.
Mobile

Motorola One Action says goodbye to annoying vertical videos

The new midrange Motorola One Action features an ultra-wide-angle lens that means you can take horizontal video while filming vertically. Here's everything you need to know about the Motorola One Action.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Deals

Score this Amazon-renewed Apple iPhone XS at a $350 discount

iPhones are pretty expensive pieces of technology, but if you don’t mind buying a renewed model, you can save quite a bit of money. Amazon is offering renewed unlocked versions of the Apple iPhone XS at a $350 discount.
Deals

Best smartwatch deals for August 2019: Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple Watch sales

Smartwatches make life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. If you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, here are the best smartwatch deals for August 2019.
Mobile

Learn how to make your iPhone play local radio in iOS 13

Find out exactly how to use the Live Radio in iOS 13: Our guide will explain how iOS 13 connects to live radio, what commands to give, and how to revisit past stations. Enjoy your favorite live radio right from your iPhone.
Deals

Looking for a good cheap phone? Get the Samsung Galaxy A10 for $145 on Amazon

Samsung's A-Series lineup features phone models from the low-end to the mid-tier. One of its cheaper ones, the Galaxy A10, is perhaps watered-down specs-wise but still boasts enough workable features that make it recommendable.