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macrumors bot
Original poster
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

Mac Fly (film)

macrumors 68020
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.
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.

They must keep the fear agenda going.
Good to see there are still a few sane bodies in Washington.

A few is correct.


macrumors 68040
May 6, 2008
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."

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.



Apr 29, 2009
Silicon Valley, CA
In September, FBI Director James Comedy​
expressed concerns​
that Apple and Google are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."​

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.


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).


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.


macrumors Core
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.
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Dec 6, 2012
I hope Congress can act quickly enough on this. It is the right thing to do.
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.
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macrumors 6502
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.
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