The Obama administration has reportedly declined to lend its public support to a draft bill that would force technology companies to help law enforcement access encrypted data or face civil penalties.
According to sources cited Reuters, the White House remains divided over the issue despite comments from President Obama last month that suggest sympathy for law enforcement.
Though it has already reviewed and submitted feedback on the draft bill, which could be introduced as soon as the end of this week, the sources said the White House was unlikely to offer public comment on the legislation.
Crafted by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the draft bill would reportedly call would instead for contempt of court proceedings and similar penalties for companies who fail to comply with orders to help access encrypted data.
Though the bill would likely be the first of its kind in the United States, similar legislation already exists abroad.
French legislators in the lower house of Parliament recently passed a bill that would give prison sentences to tech company executives who refuse to comply with demands for access to data in terrorism-related cases.
Penalties in the French bill include a fine of up to 350,000 euros ($386,000) and five years in prison.
Filed Under: Industry regulations