An encryption disclosure bill proposed by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., lacks support and appears to be dead for the year, Reuters reported, citing a number of congressional and other sources.
The proposed legislation, which never was introduced, would allow judges to order tech companies to comply with law enforcement requests to access data on encrypted devices.
The proposal followed a legal battle between Apple and the FBI over access to an iPhone used by a mass shooter in San Bernardino, CA.
Before the draft legislation was formally released, reports had surfaced that the White House would not support it, though the administration remained divided on the issue. It now appears even the bill’s supporters have backed off.
"They've dropped anchor and taken down the sail," former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden said.
The draft bill required that those ordered by a judge would need to respond in a "timely manner" and provide "intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance.”
The type of data the government could seek under the bill encompassed communications, details of identities for the people communicating and any data stored remotely or on a device.
Law enforcement has pressured Congress for this type of legislation, but the tech community and privacy advocates generally oppose it. Last month, a coalition of tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, sent a letter to the two senators claiming that the new bill "would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm."