Encryption battle brews

130731163619-lead-intv-senator-ron-wyden-nsa-leaks-00000330-horizontal-galleryA battle is brewing over the rights of US companies to sell products with encryption.

Legislation is expected shortly in Congress that would limit encryption protection in American technology products.  The idea is that it will make it easier for US spooks to spy on those using encryption.

While the US Congress tends to rubber stamp “security measures”, it looks like this deal will not go through without a fight.

US Senator Ron Wyden pledged on Wednesday to fight a bipartisan move from the Senate Intelligence Committee which would give federal judges authority to order technology companies to help law enforcement officials access encrypted data.

Wyden told the RightsCon digital rights conference in San Francisco that weakening strong encryption puts at risk millions of Americans, families and communities from one end of the country to another.

Wyden is on the Intelligence committee but is also a leading privacy advocate.  He said he would do anything within my power as a United States senator to block any plan that weakens strong encryption.

Government officials have insisted that criminal investigations could be crippled without access to phone data, and both sides are gearing up for a fight in Congress.

Wyden said he would revive a 2014 bill he introduced to block court attempts by U.S. law enforcement to undercut encryption. Of course there is nothing to stop them cracking the encryption themselves.