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Report: Obama Says He Wants Tougher Laws on Phones but Won’t Support Encryption Legislation

(Photo: Gary Willmore/Flickr)

President Barack Obama has said he supports new laws to address the encryption fight the FBI recently had with Apple – but Reuters reported that the White House is not supporting a bipartisan Senate bill that would make it easier for law enforcement to access cell phones.

A bill giving federal judges the authority to order technology companies to help law enforcement access cell phones and other devices of those involved in terrorism investigations could be formally introduced next week. The bill does not include penalties for noncompliance. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

(Photo: Gary Willmore/Flickr) (Photo: Gary Willmore/Flickr)

The White House has reportedly reviewed the text but will offer at best minimal support.

The White House and National Security Council did not respond to inquiries Thursday from TheBlaze.

Aboard Air Force One Thursday, White House spokesman Eric Schultz was asked about the report and said the "idea we would be withholding support for a bill not yet introduced is inaccurate," according to the press pool report.

Obama said last month, that he was opposed to “fetishizing our phones" and insisted doing nothing about law enforcement’s encryption challenges “can't be the right answer."

The Justice Department sought to access the cell phone used by perpetrators in the San Bernardino, California terrorist attack. Apple resisted helping the government. However, the government recently dropped the action after finding its own backdoor way of bypassing the phone's security.

This post was updated to include a comment from White House spokesman Erich Schultz. 

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