Washington, D.C. – Today Sen. Ron Wyden introduced the Secure Data Act, a bill that would prohibit the government from mandating backdoors in hardware and software products. The legislation prohibits any federal agencies from intentionally weakening the security of any product or service, effectively preventing the insertion of government-sponsored backdoors. The move comes in response to Snowden documents released earlier this year showing NSA and corporate cooperation in conducting surveillance.
Access applauds Sen. Wyden for introducing the bill.
“Secure systems keep us safe and protect our privacy,” said Drew Mitnick, Access Junior Policy Counsel. “Senator Wyden’s bill provides digital protections we all deserve. By prohibiting government from compelling companies to intentionally weaken products, we’ll prevent digital backdoors that violate our basic right to privacy.”
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a similar provision. Representatives Alan Grayson, Zoe Lofgren, and Rush Holt introduced an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act to prohibit the use of funds to mandate backdoors into technology products or services. Access supported the amendment in the House and urged the Senate to take up the cause.
Access Senior Policy Counsel Amie Stepanovich said, “The only way for users to win the long-fought war on the use of encryption is to pass a law to prohibit government interference. Senator Wyden’s bill is a necessary step toward keeping users safe online and protecting digital rights globally.”
Access supports legislation that increases the security of users and prevents any undermining of encryption standards. Companies also have a role to play in protecting user security online — Access’ Data Security Action Plan identifies seven security-enhancing steps that companies can take to help prevent unauthorized access to user data.