French lawmakers backed a plan to impose penalties including jail time on technology executives who deny access to encrypted data during a terrorist investigation, giving security services and prosecutors the power to force companies such as Apple Inc. to cooperate. An amendment providing the new power was submitted by the opposition party The Republicans and, while the government hasn’t officially supported the measure, it was included in Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas’s bill to overhaul legal procedures and fight organized crime in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

The lower of chamber of parliament cleared the bill on first reading by 474 votes to 32. “The rule aims to force phone makers to give investigators data and it will be up to the manufacturer to use whatever technique is necessary,” Republican lawmaker Philippe Goujon, who proposed the amendment, said in an interview.“The target is to have them cooperate. The aim is not to break the encryption — the principle is that manufacturers should cooperate.” READ MORE