The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to block an amendment that would have prevented the government from stepping in to force weakened encryption and security backdoors. Although Politico reports the provision received increasing support in the House over the past two years, that support has weakened in the wake of the Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando.
The amendment was part of the fiscal 2017 defense appropriations bill, and actually passed through the House twice in 2014 and 2015, but was removed by the Senate on both occasions. After Sunday’s tragedy, the measure’s opponents pointed to suspected Islamic State sympathizer Omar Mateen’s attack on a gay nightclub to justify giving law enforcement increased spying powers and easier access to private data.
“Sunday’s deadly attack proves once again that the terror threat has not dissipated,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said during the bill’s debate. “Now is not the time to block a critical investigative tool.”