Political Will for Encryption Law Has Weakened Since Apple-FBI Dispute

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, May 27, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Support for encryption legislation in the U.S. has flatlined and the push for changes in federal law following the San Bernardino shootings has petered out, according to sources in congressional offices, the administration and the tech sector (via Reuters).

    On February 16, a U.S. federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI to unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.

    Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein.

    The FBI asked Apple to create a version of iOS that would both disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically, allowing it to then brute force the passcode on the device.

    Apple announced that it would oppose the order in an open letter penned by Tim Cook, who said the FBI's request would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption.

    Apple claimed the software the FBI asked for could serve as a "master key" able to be used to get information from any iPhone or iPad - including its most recent devices - while the FBI claimed it only wanted access to a single iPhone.

    Apple's dispute with the FBI ended on March 28, after the government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone through the help of "professional hackers" and withdrew the lawsuit as a result.

    During the controversy, a Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill was announced by committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, which aimed to force companies to provide "technical assistance" to government investigators seeking locked data.

    A released draft of the encryption bill in April revealed the scope of the proposed legislation, which was heavily criticized by security experts and the wider technology community, and described variously as "absurd", "technically inept", and "dangerous".

    An open letter expressing "deep concerns" about the draft bill was subsequently signed by four coalitions representing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and other major tech companies. At the same time, the White House chose not to offer public support for the legislation, and the administration remained deeply divided on the issue.

    The CIA and NSA were also ambivalent, according to several current and former intelligence officials, because agency officials feared any new law would interfere with their own encryption efforts.

    Now, despite Burr repeatedly insisting that legislation is imminent, no timeline exists for the bill, Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee have apparently backed away from the issue, and the political will to support its advance no longer appears to exist.

    Despite the change in the political landscape, however, the FBI remains adamant that litigation over the encryption of mobile devices will continue.

    In a briefing with reporters earlier this month, FBI director James Comey called encryption an "essential tradecraft" of terrorist organizations like ISIS, suggesting that the debate over whether the government can compel tech companies to unlock personal devices in the interest of national security is far from over.

    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: Political Will for Encryption Law Has Weakened Since Apple-FBI Dispute
  2. Gymgenius Suspended

    Jan 29, 2010
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    So FBI fear new bill would undermine their encryption effort, but still don't want to give up forcing tech companies providing backdoor-alike thingy to support "their effort".
    A Chinese slang says what? "When you are riding on a tiger, you may find it is very difficult to leave from it".
  4. Morky macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2002
    If encryption is essential tradecraft for terrorist organizations, then creating backdoors and weakening encryption in consumer electronics would have zero effect on them and only serve to weaken they security of a couple of billion people. Terrorists could, and I'm sure do, use other means to encrypt communications other than what comes out of the box in an iPhone or Android phone.
  5. skinned66 macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Backdoors are an essential trade craft of state-sponsored hackers and ne're-do-wells.

    I think I'm going to name my speed bag James Comey.
  6. drumcat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 28, 2008
    Otautahi, Aotearoa
    Expect any future onerous legislation to be attached to some Save The Children bill.
  7. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
    No iPhone left behind!
  8. PBRsg macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2014
    One of my steadfast rules in politics: I want the opposite of whatever Feinstein wants.
  9. duffman9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep in the Depths of CA
    I don't like judging a person by looks, but she looks downright evil. Like she is about to throw some puppies in the oven.
    --- Post Merged, May 27, 2016 ---
    If she was for puppies I'd have to be against puppies.
  10. bstpierre macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2008
    The article says CIA and NSA, not FBI, feared any new law would interfere with they encryption efforts.
  11. vvswarup macrumors 6502a

    Jul 21, 2010
    We like to talk about how special interest groups and the rich have too much influence over US politics at the expense of less well-off Americans. There are those who say that for this reason, we need term limits on Congress. This stupid encryption bill is another reason why we need term limits. These career politicians with no understanding of modern technology are proposing laws that are going to make our data less secure.

    This law is tantamount to requiring a backdoor. That's just unacceptable. What do LEOs think they'll accomplish if they weaken encryption? To use the words of Comey, if encryption is an essential tradecraft of terrorist organizations, they'll just find a way to get their hands on encryption. By painting encryption as essential tradecraft of terrorist organizations, Comey is trying to make us believe that privacy is abnormal, and you want privacy, you're probably doing something that you shouldn't be doing.

    If politicians have their way with this bill, only the bad guys will have privacy. The good guys who are just trying to protect critical information like credit card numbers, health data, and other things will be forced to do without it and will be turned into mindless drones of the government.
  12. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    Sounds like the perfect time for the DC Glitterati to ram through some heinous 'legislation' that strips all privacy from 'We The People'.

    You know that's coming. The 'Do nothing Congress' sure does a lot of wrong. It's like watching Godzilla, swaggering around and destroying nearly everything within reach...

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!
  13. smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    The US needs an even hand or these issues will remain live. That even hand is neither Trump nor Clinton.
  14. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Republicans are too busy making budget proposals that gut FUNDING for the FCC to make sure that corporations can safely ignore Net Neutrality and stop the cable/satellite industry from having to allow 3rd party newer/faster/better cable/sat boxes that aren't slow as crap operate on their networks. A family member of mine has Time Warner and they charge a nice rental fee for a 15 year old cable box that routinely craps out and resets and is molasses mixed with paint drying slow. If she complains and they come out they give her another 15 year old dud that does no better since to get anything remotely newer they want her to get an HD box (never mind that room doesn't have an HDTV) and the room that does have that box isn't exactly awesome. I have a family owned cable company in my area and they cost 40% less for the same services (but with faster Internet) and newer cable boxes that are 4-5x faster than their older ones and even so, the boxes aren't as fast as they COULD be. I just got back from London a few days ago and my hotel's standard WiFi was getting me over 60Mbps down and 15Mbps up (beats my home speeds) at no cost.

    But we all bend over and just take it and vote for these people that protect corporate wealth at the cost of consumers using ancient slow technology with broadband speeds a fraction of Europe because hey, the other guys are evil "liberals" that want to control your life by forcing companies to allow competition! OMG! Competition! What's that? Doesn't everyone know that Capitalism = Merging into Monopolies and ultra-high prices??? But hey, Donald will bring back 1800s coal power by removing all barriers to polluting! You don't need to breathe clean air for god's sake! I'm sorry, but if people want pollution, no food inspection, no safety standards and their kids working in coal mines, vote for the most self-obsessed candidate of all time! He'll bring America back to the 1880s and early 1900s when we were "great" with a few people like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt ruled the country robber baron style! Yes, a dozen people with 99.9% of the wealth is even BETTER than 1% with that wealth, after all. We need to consolidate our rich and shove the rest down to poverty levels so they don't cause trouble! Bring back the medieval noble system of lords and peasants with our new King Trump at the helm!

    Yes I realize the alternative is crooked Hillary or perhaps Comrade Colonel Sanders if she goes to jail), so pick your poison well! The age of dignity and trustworthy honest people dies long ago (really never existed; Democracy is a sham; read Plato's Republic some time; it will always be corrupted).
  15. rdlink macrumors 68040


    Nov 10, 2007
    Out of the Reach of the FBI
    Officially requesting that Macrumors allow multiple up votes specifically for this post.
  16. JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    The US is actually very funny, they have been mocking the USSR as being comunist with only one single party. The US has however just one party more. In most countries of Europe, you can choose from a multitude of political parties all with diffetrent ideas. Next to this the ellection thing in the US is like a circus, it looks like a version Idols; it doesn't matter whether you have any understanding of ruling a country, you just have to achieve high view rating and you are president or govenor. Just some examples;

    Famous govenors:
    Jesse Venture: ex- UDT, ex wressler and than he beacme a Governor
    Arnold Zwartzenegger: Austrian bodybuilder, filmstar / Terminator: US Governor

    Famous presidents
    Jimmy carter: peanut farmer
    Ronald Reagan: movie Cowboy
    Bill Clintion: don't get me started about Monica
    What's next?
  17. Sasparilla, May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    I don't believe for a moment that the FBI's lackey's, Feinstein's Burr, has given up on pushing through this Big Brother legislation.

    Its good to remember that last year there was also a dead on arrival proposal giving companies blanket liability protection so they could share any and all data directly with the NSA (specifically without privacy measures applied - i.e. not making U.S. citizen data anonymous - keep in mind the NSA's charter prohibits them from spying on U.S. citizens, supposed to be outward facing only) - then when the gigantic budget bill went through at the last minute in December, there it was tucked in and passed. I'd expect the same here - with PR saying its dead and don't worry about it ahead of time, just like this.

    When it comes to citizen privacy and freedom from govt searching and surveillance, contrary to the public perception, we're still loosing ground here in the U.S.(here's legislation moving through congress, under the radar, that would let the FBI get your e-mail and browsing history from your ISP without a warrant & with a gag order - thank Feinstein's Burr for this one too): https://theintercept.com/2016/05/26...give-fbi-warrantless-access-to-email-records/
  18. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    This is pretty simple. The political will disappeared when the headlines disappeared. There's no more political capital to be gained from this encryption law so it will die on the vine. Politicians didn't and don't give a rat's ass about encryption. They did see it as a way to get facetime <-- see what I did there? - and when that dried up in the news cycle, so did their motivation for this bill. Politics as usual.
  19. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    old white folks knowing whats best for everyone, cuz they just know /s :rolleyes:
  20. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    Thank you American populace for not being sucked into this.
  21. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Thanks for the fix.
  22. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    As opposed to the middle-aged black guy whose FBI and NSA are spying on American citizens...
  23. ike1707 macrumors 6502


    Jan 20, 2009
    Bernie is not any better.
  24. Jax44 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2010
    Carmel, California
    Blows my mind that out of all the people in America all we can come up with for our President is Trump, Hillary and Bernie.

  25. maxsix Suspended


    Jun 28, 2015
    Western Hemisphere
    Apple has milked the cow. Rising to the challenge, spinning it for maximum benefit, the focus has been redirected as they prepare for the next iPhone launch.

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