Apple Backs Open Letter to Senators Criticizing Draft Encryption Bill

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    An open letter expressing "deep concerns" about a U.S. draft encryption bill that would force smartphone makers to decrypt data at the behest of the government was published yesterday, signed by four coalitions representing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and other major tech companies.

    The letter is addressed to the bill's sponsors, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, and warns of the legislation's "unintended consequences", calling its requirements of technology companies "well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable" (via The Verge).

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    The letter is signed by Reform Government Surveillance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Entertainment Software Association, and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition. Facebook, Netflix, eBay, and Dropbox are among other companies represented by the groups.

    The news follows heavy criticism of the bill from security experts after a draft titled "The Compliance with Court Orders Act 2016" was circulated earlier this month following Apple's standoff with the FBI over access to an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The draft states that all providers of communication services and products must respect the "rule of law" and comply with legal requirements and court orders to provide information stored either on devices or remotely.

    Without detailing specific technical demands, the wording of the act itself makes end-to-end encryption impossible. Experts said it was "absurd", "dangerous", and "bad legislation in every way", amounting to a government-mandated back door.

    The White House remains deeply divided on the issue and has so far decided not to offer public support for the legislation. Language in the draft bill is subject to changes based on input from stakeholders, although an official draft was released one week ago with few changes from the earlier version. Senators Burr and Feinstein have yet to respond to the letter.

    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: Apple Backs Open Letter to Senators Criticizing Draft Encryption Bill
     
  2. ForkHandles macrumors regular

    ForkHandles

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    #2
    I agree with the letter. All government policies deal in generalities with attempts at safeguarding built in. Invariably those safeguards fail and are exploited by 'bad actors'

    A hot topic in Europe is tax law, we have been collecting taxes here in the uk for around 1000 years and still legislation allows for dodgy dealings to take place left, right and centre. If we can't get tax law correct after a millennium what chance does the US have of getting encryption law correct.
     
  3. Mums Suspended

    Mums

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  4. VanillaCracker macrumors 68030

    VanillaCracker

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    #4
    I think the cyber world is different than governments anticipate. There are still power plays to be made, but it's not with the same kind of authority as you would expect. The government doesn't necessarily hold the foundation for this one. Once a back door has been exploited you can't just close the borders, or print more money, or even pass a law. If weak encryption leads to advantageous opportunities by countries like North Korea, everyone loses.
     
  5. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

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    #5
    The fact this has to be explained to these idiots like they're six years old tells me everything I need to know about how dysfunctional my government is.

    The system's broken beyond repair. REVOLUTION!!!
     
  6. Porco macrumors 68030

    Porco

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    #6
    Perhaps they first need to get a 'mandatory decryption' of the words in the letter so they can actually understand the problems with the bill they support.
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #7
    Good news.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 20, 2016 ---
    They can't be experts in everything to be fair.
     
  8. JosephAW macrumors 65816

    JosephAW

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    #8
    We need to remind lawmakers that this bill would apply to them as well. All their secret communications in congress and back room deals would be visible to other countries, other political parties as well as the public.
    And the open source community would not comply but rather develop even stronger encryption.
    The solution is to enforce existing laws.
     
  9. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    #9
    We need to turn Taylor Swift loose on them. ;)

    While we can't expect our lawmakers to be experts in everything we should expect them to be open to expert input.
     
  10. rdlink macrumors 68040

    rdlink

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    #10
    True, but in this case that point is moot. This is a situation that they should just leave the eff alone.

    They're trying to "fix" a "problem" that doesn't exist. For the first time since this country was founded its citizens have powers that were theoretically granted to them in the constitution, but were up until now not practically available to them. Now that citizens can have true privacy these people can't stand it.
     
  11. nt5672 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Its going to take more than a letter to fix these smart power hungry political elites. Make no mistake about this, they are not idiots or dumb, or have a failure to read and understand. They are simply power hungry. Yes thats right, in spite of the political rhetoric that spills out of their lair they are not working in anyones best interest except their own.

    Once you understand that they are bent on power and domination and not this "we need to protect the children and the weak", then you will understand exactly how smart they are.
     
  12. PinkyMacGodess, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #12
    That assumes that the government actually wants to stop 'bad actors' from harming its charges.

    So far, that is a fallacious statement.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 20, 2016 ---
    They aren't so much 'power hungry', as cowardly, and want to look 'butch' against an intransigent industry that the right wing echo chamber has portrayed as being anti-American, dictatorial, shielding criminals, and 'against us'. Because: If you aren't doing anything wrong, why would you not want to government pawing over your data.

    Oh, and 'pragmatism'. :rolleyes: The new reason for selling out...
     
  13. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a

    gixxerfool

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    #13
    Didn't Amazon remove their encryption from the Fire OS?
     
  14. tgara, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #14
    No, there is definitely a problem and they are not power hungry. The Senators on the Intelligence Committee see all the classified material gathered regarding terrorists and other bad guys, and they want to find a way for law enforcement agencies to stop these guys. The problem is that encryption works for everybody, including the bad guys who use it to hide their planning and bad acts. For me, of course I want my data secure from hackers, but I also want law enforcement to be able to do its job quickly and efficiently to stop the bad guys. A balance must be struck with appropriate safeguards in place. I'm not sure where that balance is at the moment, though.

    Besides this US draft, there is similar legislation proceeding through the legislatures in several countries in Europe. I think they are ahead of the US on this issue. I'm not sure what Apple and the others are going to do if, say, France passes it's decryption legislation.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/encryption-legislation-advances-france

    The Feinstein-Burr draft is too broad IMHO. I'm hoping the stakeholders weigh in on this, as Apple has done, to craft better language.
     
  15. nt5672 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Sure, if you have your head in the sand that makes a lot of sense. Getting into phones after the fact and won't stop anyone. If that were the issue then we should just let the government have unrestricted access to everything. If we do that, history tells us that it was never about stopping the bad guys and was about government power and the ability to control both the population and political adversaries. You need to read some history and learn about the real goals of socialism. Hint, it is not about protecting the workers, or the children, or the downtrodden.

    If the only way to "stop these guys" is to lose our freedoms, then I don't want that. I want to be free. All life has risks, giving the government access to our phones does not reduce our risk of death one bit because bad folks will use other methods if phones are compromised.
     
  16. tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #16
    So what is your solution? Lock everything down tight for everyone, including the rapists, pedophiles, nuclear arms dealers, kidnappers, money launderers, Mafiosi, and serial murderers, and just accept whatever societal mayhem they cause as a cost of the security for your cat videos? Sorry, but that's not acceptable. I think you need to take off your tin foil hat and start looking at the bigger picture as an adult.
     
  17. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #17
    An adult would realize that encryption in many cases is open source. Make the platform insecure and they'll just move onto an app that is secure within that insecure platform. There is nothing preventing people from creating another layer of encryption at the app communication level, so what is the real point of all of this?

    People seem to be extremely USA centric on this issue without considering the vital role that encryption has played in organizing against repressive regimes around the world. Open iOS here, you aid in the repression of people around the world. But, **** em, gotta let the FBI have access to everything because who knows, the boogeyman could be juuuuuuust about to attack. :rolleyes:
     
  18. sbailey4 macrumors 68030

    sbailey4

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    Exactly, thats why they need to leave this in the hands of the tech companies. I guess they also are unaware that there are other apps etc that allow for secure communications even if they can get into the device itself. Cracking into an iPhone and iMessage will resolve nothing if the user is using one of those apps. Perhaps they need to google tor and dark web to see whats out there :)
     
  19. tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #19
    I think you're right about most of this, you know. Encryption is very important today for all end users like us, given all the hacking. It's also an important national security concern (former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden says encryption and computing power = combat power). The trick is how to get into the bad guys' stuff and leave everyone else alone. I don't know what the answer is. Is a judicially approved warrant sufficient? Most people here say no, and they may be right. In the end, maybe we will have to rely on the Cellebrites of the world in order to have law enforcement do it's job.
     
  20. redscull macrumors 6502a

    redscull

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    #20
    Exactly. They're not necessarily dumb. More likely, they're evil. In the sense that being power hungry with no respect for fellow citizens is evil.
     
  21. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #21
    Cellebrite has had ties with the Israeli counterpart to the NSA, as well as the NSA for quite some time now. This whole charade is a power grab. The very exploits that celebrite uses, and builds into their special cables, are often original R&D done by the NSA that gets sold off each year.

    I'm not joking when I say this, the NSA by law has to put out a brochure each year with selected projects they offer up to private corporations. This is because of public funding, but from their perspective it has the added benefit of continuing the merging between the agency and big business. I've got the (I think) 2013 brochure on my computer at home, it's fascinating the kind of stuff they sell off that could be used by regimes around the world to further the surveillance state.

    Not only that, historically the NSA has been part of the groups actively developing new encryption standards. This is two-fold, one part is that they have a strong interest in making sure THEIR stuff is secure (rightfully so), but the other part is they have previously been involved in pushing encryption standards that they had already compromised.

    The whole agency is extremely shady.

    But back to the point, regardless of laws calling for it, there is no logical (computer logic that is) way of making something secure AND giving access to only to one entity. If there is a way for one to get in, you've made a way for others.
     
  22. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

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    #22
    This is what happens when the legislature is comprised mostly of lawyers.

    The only part lawyers should play in drafting legislation is making sure the law will have the intended effect in the legal system. The people who should be in charge of the ideas and concepts that comprise the law should be experts in their field and should come from all walks of life.
     
  23. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

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    Mmmm love me some donations from defense contractors and police unions!
     
  24. Tech198, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    Tech198 macrumors G4

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    #24
    I'm actually all for this bill..

    if we have smart phones that manufactures can't be forced to decrypt at all what will that spell ? Safer for personal info yes, but a disaster since no one will know who broke the law anymore... in hence, the government will just have lost power to do what is already does now.. I hate to live in a world we're the government is power-less to do anything.

    Why should encryption be above the law ? when everything else that relates to security, privacy is true, *except* for telling the government since u could be fined for telling false info.....

    That's what this is all about really... having something that no law can by-pass.

    The only reason we don't do the same with desktop/laptops is because is we probably use our smart phones more anyway, But given half the change, the same would apply there to. and we'll be back here again.

    Keep the security and strength as we do today, but allow law enforcement access when possible..
     
  25. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #25
    What are you talking about? IF you're saying that they need to break into a machine to determine if a law was broken, how in the hell did they get a warrant in the first place?
     

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