New Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress to Block State-Level Efforts to Weaken Smartphone Encryption

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A new bill introduced in U.S. Congress today by representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) would attempt to block state-level efforts to ban sales of strongly encrypted smartphones, reports Ars Technica.

    The federal bill will need to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and be signed by the president, in order to become law. If passed quick enough, the bipartisan legislation would set precedent over state-level bills.

    California and New York assemblymen have introduced new bills over the past year that would require smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Google to create devices that can be decrypted or unlocked, or be subject to fines.

    The virtually identical bills would require any smartphone manufactured after January 1, 2017 and sold in New York or California to "be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider." Apple and others would face a $2,500 fine per phone in violation of the proposed law.

    Apple is strongly against government efforts to weaken smartphone encryption. The company ceased storing encryption keys for devices on iOS 8, making it impossible for the iPhone maker to unlock content on passcode-protected devices under police request. Both iOS and Android share these default encryption settings.

    In September, FBI Director James Comey expressed concerns that Apple and Google are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law." Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook believes providing the U.S. government with back door access means the "back door's for everybody, for good guys and bad guys."

    Read the full text of the "ENCRYPT Act of 2016" for more details about the new house bill.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: New Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress to Block State-Level Efforts to Weaken Smartphone Encryption
  2. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Good to see there are still a few sane bodies in Washington.
  3. kd5jos macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Thank goodness someone is stepping up to stop the madness.
  4. antonis macrumors 68000


    Jun 10, 2011
    After Snowden leaks, the masks are gone, aren't they ? Governments can no longer hide their true face on spying matters. What they did secretly till then, now they ask for it openly.
  5. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    Lol at Comey and his ilk thinking he's a good guy. I suppose when the NSA lied to congress it was for good too? These are the folks who think they are above the law.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2016 ---
    They must keep the fear agenda going.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2016 ---
    A few is correct.
  6. convergent macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    Imagine the citizens of the USA being able to have the right to privacy! I think these people forget who they work for.

    Not to mention he's too stupid to realize that even if Apple put in a back door, the criminals could add their own additional encryption for which there would be no backdoor.

  7. mrkramer macrumors 603


    Jul 11, 2006
    Good to see this come up as a bipartisan bill. Hopefully it passes and Obama is willing to sign it.
  8. CarlosQG macrumors 68020


    Sep 22, 2012
    That's one pretty ****ed up statement. Am I obligated by the law (whatever the hell that is) to hand my privacy? What a time to be alive.
  9. macrumors 65832

    May 25, 2012
    I wish they would understand if their dumbasses can get in with a backdoor then the smart hackers can easily get in.
  10. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I'll be honest and say I haven't fully read the article or the proposed bill, but this sounds like great news if the headline reads true.
  11. Kaibelf macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Since we aren't all criminals, no, we are not placing ourselves above the law. However, the FBI is by implying that the well established right to privacy in this country for innocent people doesn't exist.
  12. Rocketman macrumors 603


    I am entitled to keep safe my "papers and things". That includes my smartphone and its contents since it is effectively my wallet.
  13. Chatter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2013
    Uphill from Downtown
    But its not always the phone as much the app right? Ex: I can use encripted text messaging. What happens then?
    I am happy to be corrected here if I am missing the big picture.
  14. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2014
    Nothing wrong with that, but it needs to apply to the federal level too. Historically it has been the fed, not the states, that has been the worst with backdoors (Clipper chip, DUAL_EC_DRBG, etc).
  15. DUCKofD3ATH macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    A Republican and a Democrat agree on something sensible?

    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...
  16. coumerelli macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2003
    state of confusion.
    While I wholeheartedly agree that NY and CA and completely wrong to force this on us, it is not the Federal Government's place to say so.

    If NY, CA or any other state is successful in passing such a bill, I hope, and think, Apple would have the gall to actually stop selling in that state to avoid penalty and to make a point. It might be a harder pill to swallow in their home state, but if they did, the states would reverse course faster than you could catch a virus on Windows.

    And (loosely) like DUCKofD3ATH said, if the Feds want to block this, then they are free to block it on the Federal level. If it is going to be blocked on the state level, then that is each state's prerogative.
  17. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2014
    If you want to see some bi-partisan agreement, wait until they torpedo this thing when it comes up for vote.
  18. Huntn macrumors G4


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    This is something that requires a national standard and I'm thrilled the move is to protect privacy. An extremely poor example of a States Right's argument, which would be a nightmare if different states held different legal standards. The same applies for the Death Penalty, which should be outlawed nationally.
  19. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I hope Congress can act quickly enough on this. It is the right thing to do.
  20. Cuban Missles macrumors 68040

    Cuban Missles

    I don't know if I can agree with this. The USA was built on being the land of the free - that I believe should include freedom from being spied on by your own government.

    I am totally against terrorism either internally or abroad. I make that statement without reservation or condition. There is nothing good about it and it should stop. That statement should not be made with any condition on my freedom or my privacy. Given what we know about the cyber espionage efforts from the US, China and Russia, I sometime wonder if they are already able to hack us anyway and this is all just a ruse.

    To the government - do everything you can to protect us, but please stop the fear tactics and leave my privacy alone.
  21. C00rDiNaT0r macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2006
    New York, New York
    It would be amusing to see smartphone vendors band together to pull an "Uber deBlasio mode" in their device sales channels, telling residents in affected states that they will subject to pay a $2.5k "privacy tax" if and when the bill passes, and who are backing said bills.
  22. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I think you misunderstand my post, @Cuban Missles

    I do not want NY and CA to be able to pass their bills. I want Congress to prevent them from doing this.
  23. Cuban Missles macrumors 68040

    Cuban Missles

    Oh, in that case, I totally agree with you :)
  24. jclardy macrumors 68030


    Oct 6, 2008
    Since when has having privacy become "placing yourself above the law?"
  25. macsrcool1234 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2010
    all apple needs to do is stop selling phones in the affected states and put a message blaming the state legislature on those states.

    the resulting backlash will have the law repealed so fast...

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