On Monday presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would force tech companies to work with intelligence agencies.
“We already know we need more resources for this fight. The professionals who keep us safe would be the first to say we need better intelligence to discover and disrupt terrorist plots before they can be carried out,” Clinton said during a speech in Cleveland.
“That’s why I’ve proposed an ‘intelligence surge’ to bolster our capabilities across the board, with appropriate safeguards here at home.”
Clinton’s proposal lacked specifics, although she did say the government will compel technology companies to counter online propaganda, track social media accounts, and intercept communications and other data.
Google declined to comment and Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond.
In April, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein drafted a bill that would force tech companies to provide the government with technical assistance when attempting to defeat smartphone encryption.
“All persons receiving an authorized judicial order for information or data must provide, in a timely manner, responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance,” the draft bill states.
“In short, this bill sets up a legal paradox that would further muddy the waters about how and when the government can compel the private sector to assist in gaining access to private information,” Daniel Castro, vice president of think tank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, told PC World.
Clinton’s proposal would expand on this, essentially forcing private sector companies to cooperate in surveillance and tracking on the internet.
It is similar to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill currently undergoing legislative scrutiny. The British legislation would allow intelligence agencies and law enforcement to intercept and bulk collect communications data. In addition to interception without a warrant, the IP bill would permit intelligence agencies to carry out targeted equipment interference, in other words hacking into private computers to access data.