Surveillance 'Backdoor' Prevention Law Dumped from Cromnibus Bill


It's a back door. I didn't feel like searching real hard for art.
Credit: Itchyklikfinger / photo on flickr

Today, House members Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced their Secure Data Act. It would prohibit the federal government from requiring or compelling technological "backdoors" in goods and services (like Internet service providers) that would facilitate secret surveillance.

Actually, they already introduced this legislation and it already passed the House once by a vote of 293-123. But House leadership dropped it from the big Cromnibus spending bill that is expected to get crommed through Cromgress. So they have to start over. They issued a joint statement:

"Thus far, Congress has failed to rein in the Administration's surveillance authorities and protect Americans' civil liberties. Nevertheless, the Massie-Sensenbrenner-Lofgren amendment established an important record in the full House of Representatives—an overwhelming majority will no longer tolerate the status quo. Unwarranted and backdoor surveillance is untenable, and as Congress turns to address a multitude of expiring surveillance programs in the 114th Congress, the House will not allow unwarranted surveillance without meaningful reform. The Secure Data Act defends Americans' constitutional rights and is an important next step in closing backdoor surveillance and rebuilding public trust in our intelligence agencies." 

Unwarranted surveillance may have dropped off the outrage radar for many Americans amid our non-stop parade of new examples of awful government behavior, but it's good to see there are still some legislators pushing for reform.