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Statement on the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016

Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement registering the Internet industry’s opposition to the leaked discussion draft of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016.”


“The draft legislation, as currently written, creates a mandate that companies engineer vulnerabilities into their products or services, which will harm national security and put Americans at risk,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “Strong encryption is vital to protecting national security, personal privacy, communications, the electric grid, hospitals, and our defense systems. Mandating the weakening of encryption will put the United States’ national security and global competitiveness at risk without corresponding benefits. As the Administration considers its response to the bill, we hope President Obama takes a position that supports the use of strong encryption without backdoors.”

The draft requires that all Internet companies – or more broadly, “any person who provides a product or method to facilitate a communication or the processing or storage of data” – undermine security features or offer lesser security so that they are able to facilitate government access to data. The bill creates a contradiction by asking companies to both weaken and maintain security at the same time.

Today, the Internet Association also released the first in a series of “Internet Bytes” videos on issues of importance to the Internet. The video features two encryption policy experts — Open Technology Institute Director Kevin Bankston, and Access Now U.S. Policy Manager Amie Stepanovich. In the video, Bankston and Stepanovich explain what encryption is and why strong encryption is important to everyone.