Sunday, March 20, 2016

WI GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner threatens Apple: 'I don't think you're going to like what comes out of Congress'

     Sensenbrenner, you may recall, was an author of the Patriot Act, whose provisions have used by the government to log every telephone call you make. As that widespread surveillance dragnet became known, Sensenbrenner, in a press release, blamed "abuse" by the government for its "interpretation" of his law:
     “As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation....Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”
     Recently at a congressional hearing, Sensenbrenner excoriated Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell for calling on Congress to decide the scope of governmental intervention to defeat encryption of personal devices rather than simply allowing the FBI to try to cut off such a discussion with a court order.
       Sensenbrenner chillingly told Sewell, "I don't think you're going to like what comes out of Congress.
     Given Sensenbrenner's previous legislation, it probably wasn't an idle threat.

From Mother Jones:
     Congress could simply pass a law outlawing any encryption that law enforcement can't access. Members of the House Judiciary Committee brought up that possibility to Apple's top lawyer during a hearing earlier this month, and Obama repeated the warning in Austin last week. Technology experts say that such a measure would create huge security problems for average citizens and potentially stunt the advances in the tech industry.
And more still:
     Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, may introduce just such a backdoor-access bill as early as this week. Feinstein also suggested last Wednesday that the government could charge companies with material support for terrorism if terrorists use their products. "If one of those proposals was to become law, it would be way worse than anything that would come out of any kind of yearlong technical commission," Green says. (Matthew Green is a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University and a prominent commentator on digital security.

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