Proposed New York State bill looks to outlaw sale of encrypted smartphones

“A proposed bill in New York seeks to require that all smartphones sold in the state can be decrypted or unlocked and proposes hefty fines for vendors failing to comply,” Liam Tung reports for ZDNet. “The proposed law marks the latest effort by lawmakers to make it easier for law enforcement to access and read encrypted data stored on smartphones.”

“Should the proposed bill successfully pass through New York’s state assembly and senate,” Tung reports, “Apple and Google could face fines of $2,500 per device sold in the state after January 1, 2016, if a retailer knowingly sold a smartphone that could not be unlocked or decrypted by the device manufacturer or operating-system provider.”

“The proposed bill comes amid a long-running debate over backdoors and weakened encryption, in part sparked by Apple’s move with iOS 8 to encrypt data stored on iPhones by default,” Tung reports. “Google has implemented similar encryption for data stored on new devices sold that run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, though currently few are in consumers’ hands.”

“Techdirt, which first reported the proposal, notes that the proposed bill from New York Assemblyman Matthew Titone was first introduced on June 8, 2015 to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection,” Tung reports. “Titone has resubmitted the proposal to the same committee in the wake of a controversial white paper on smartphones, public safety, and encryption by New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Should such moronic idiocy ever pass, Apple, and Google, for that matter, should stop selling devices in New York State while directing all calls to the offices of New York’s state assemblypeople and state senators.

Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

SEE ALSO:
Apple CEO Tim Cook lashes out at Obama administration over encryption, bemoans White House lack of leadership – January 13, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook opposes government back door to encryption – December 21, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 21, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s iPhone encryption is a godsend, even if government snoops and cops hate it – October 8, 2014
Short-timer U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Apple for protecting users’ privacy against government overreach – September 30, 2014
FBI blasts Apple for protective users’ privacy by locking government, police out of iPhones and iPads – September 25, 2014
Apple thinks different about privacy – September 23, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Would you trade privacy for national security? Most Americans wouldn’t – August 6, 2014
Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers – July 15, 2014
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013

43 Comments

      1. Ok, so they drive into NJ (or any boarder state) and buy the iPhone at any Best buy, AT&T Store, Apple Store, … New Yorkers already come into NJ for lower taxed close, gasoline, … Sure, NJ can sell them iPhones too!

        Clueless NY idiots! Just look at all the NY license plates in the NJ store parking lots and it will tell the story on it’s own. Idiots!

    1. Then New York watches vendors leave or go out of business while New Jersey stores see record sales. Outlawing the sale of the devices is not the same as outlawing their use.

      Oh, and it is a stupid idea, too, that Americans will rebel against.

    2. Yes and no to the MDN take:

      YES — Because the proposed law would represent horrible public policy and would (as suggested above) simply drive business to adjacent states. Apple and Google should absolutely refuse to open up their devices to hackers, foreign and domestic. Even a national ban would not work because there is nothing to stop somebody from using apps or the web to exchange encrypted messages and access encrypted data on an unencrypted phone. This effort to repeal science is the modern equivalent of the occasional effort to redefine Pi as 3.0 (see 1 Kings 7:23).

      NO — Because the U.S. Constitution does not contain an absolute right to privacy, but does contain express provisions for searching and seizing “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” when reasonable, pursuant to a lawfully obtained warrant. Prohibiting the sale of devices that cannot be searched with a proper Fourth Amendment warrant is a really bad idea, but it is not unconstitutional.

    1. He’s show-boating for his fascist constituency. Remember, legislature-critters can introduce a bill for any old nutty thing they want.
      Near zero chance of that bill getting serious consideration by the full legislature.

      1. The useful word here is NOT ‘fascist’. That would only apply to rightists. The word is ‘totalitarian‘. It applies to loon level leftists as well as rightists. Loon level anything means failure, thus their resorting to that horror place where both rightist and leftist lunatics meet: The need to apply totalitarian tactics in order to gain control of the citizenry.

        1. It seems like it’s the “moderate” Democrats and Republicans that keep pushing totalitarian security state policies. The libertarians and the the anarchists hate privacy invasion.

          I think the real problem is using a single axis (left/right) for evaluating someone’s politics. Better is the so-called “Political Compass” – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_compass
          That points out what Derek is saying: both left and right can be totalitarians/authoritarians. The two major parties are mostly in the top half of the graph (authoritarian), regardless of how left or right they are. I’m pretty far in the “libertarian-left” quadrant.

          1. Well, as I incessantly point out, there is no actual 1 dimensional political spectrum. We live in a 3D world. So shoving Libertarians or Anarchists (negative or positive) to either the left or right is an artificial convenience.

            The ‘Political Compass’ is a nice start. It’s sort of on the order of the 2D spectrum of Jungian personalities (via Myers-Briggs), but is still wanting in detail.

            IOW: Thank you for adding further insight!

            1. I agree – it seems like it needs at least another axis, but it’s better than the often-pointless left/right, conservative/liberal comparisons. The positions taken by the two major parties in the U.S. politics can be misleading about what are the actual options for political opinions.

      1. For the record: I think most Democrats are bad news. Same thing for most Republicans. I also think both parties are TERRIBLE when it comes to loving to violate our privacy. That’s definitely a bipartisan effort.

        KingMel, you obviously don’t know Staten Island. It is pretty right-wing, so there’s a reason a Democrat getting elected from there would be considered farther right than most Democrats.
        I also think both major parties are pretty happy with totalitarianism, at least based on their actions.
        I think plenty of people “from the left” have done stupid things, but probably not from elected office, since both major parties in the U.S. are politically moderate-to-extreme right wing. Very few leftists actually in office, so not too many chances to do stupid things in office.

  1. Passing things like this at state and local governments is a easy thing to do. If a citizen of those areas wanted a modern secure phone, they will have to go to the next state or city to get one, which is a real hassle. The next step, vote out politicians which seek to make your life miserable, and if you can’t do that, maybe to will want to move where sanity prevails.

    I suggest passing a bill which outlaws encryption on all media devices and media. 🙂

    1. “What would it achieve?”

      Proposing a nonsense bill will probably achieve what was intended: allow the bill’s sponsor to brag about how tough-on-crime/terrorists they are. Don’t be confused: I doubt the bill’s sponsor actually expects it to accomplish anything other than that. He probably doesn’t expect it to be seriously considered.

  2. They can all be decrypted or unlocked now. What is the big deal? All you need do do is get the owner involved.
    ~~~
    If I put a safe into my house, does the manufacturer have a master combination to get into it? No. I have the combination for me to get into it when I want to. Why is this any different???

    1. You’ve made some interesting points there, this one in particular: “If I put a safe into my house, does the manufacturer have a master combination to get into it? No. I have the combination for me to get into it when I want to. Why is this any different???”

      This is different than the iphone because a safe can be opened by a variety of means other than the combination to reveal the contents inside. The contents of an encrypted iphone cannot be accessed without the use of the proper password, hence it empowers the owners and only countries from the free and civilized world would allow that.

      1. True. I figured that any amount of drilling, puncturing, scoping, listening or anything else that is needed to hack into a safe would compare to any hacking needed to get into an encrypted cell phone (let call it a “mobile safe”).

        The safe manufacturer does not have a backdoor combination to get into the safe, so people or governments that want into it have to find their own way in. Same thing here. The manufacturer do not have the password, so those that want in have to find another way.

      2. The equivalent is actually a safe with a self-destruct mechanism which destroys the contents of the safe if you attempt to open the door without using the proper combination.

    2. beosjim: Legally, there is no way to coerce a US citizen to unlock anything for which the key is in their head.

      If someone only locked their iPhone, for example, with their fingerprint, it is entirely legal to grab their thumb and apply it to the phone to open it.

      HOWEVER: If anything is locked with a secret PASSWORD, IOW something the user ‘knows’ (versus something they are or something they have such as a dongle) then the citizen simply has to say ‘NO’ and apply the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. The device remains locked. The best a law enforcement organization could do is apply password attacks to the device, a great reason to never use anything but random noise passwords.

    1. Matthew ‘Constitutional Illiterate’ Titone:

      http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=061

      As a citizen of New York, I must apologize for this technical and legal MORON. He sadly defines the term ‘DemoCRAP’.

      For those who’d like to read this moronic bill, here you go:

      NYS Senate Bill A8093

      Introduced by M. of A. TITONE — read once and referred to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection

      AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to the manufacture and sale of smartphones that are capable of being decrypted and unlocked by the manufacturer

      THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS. . . .

      2. ANY SMARTPHONE THAT IS MANUFACTURED ON OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN, AND SOLD OR LEASED IN NEW YORK, SHALL BE CAPABLE OF BEING DECRYPTED AND UNLOCKED BY ITS MANUFACTURER OR ITS OPERATING SYSTEM PROVIDER. . . .

      3. . . . CIVIL PENALTY OF TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR EACH SMARTPHONE SOLD OR LEASED IF IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT THE SELLER OR LESSOR OF THE SMARTPHONE KNEW AT THE TIME OF THE SALE OR LEASE THAT THE SMARTPHONE WAS NOT CAPABLE OF BEING DECRYPTED AND UNLOCKED BY ITS MANUFACTURER OR ITS OPERATING SYSTEM PROVIDER. NO SELLER OR LESSOR WHO PAYS THE CIVIL PENALTY MAY PASS ANY PORTION OF THAT PENALTY ON TO ANY PURCHASER OF SMARTPHONES BY RAISING THE SALES OR LEASE PRICE OF SMARTPHONES. . . .

      5. A CIVIL SUIT TO ENFORCE THIS SECTION MAY BE BROUGHT BY THE FOLLOWING PARTIES AND NONE OTHERS: (A) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, FOR ANY SALE OR LEASE OF A SMARTPHONE IN NEW YORK, AND (B) THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR ANY SALE OR LEASE OF A SMARTPHONE IN THE COUNTY REPRESENTED BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PROVIDED, HOWEVER THAT THE SELLER OR LESSOR MAY BE SUBJECT TO NOT MORE THAN A SINGLE PENALTY FOR EACH SALE OR LEASE OF A SMARTPHONE.
      S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

      Imagine the backlash and citizen response if this became law. Cracked/jailbroken smartphones would become the rule and all of their owners would be installing and employing their own encryption.

      Then imagine the response from #MyStupidGovernment to individual smartphone users employing encryption DESPITE this moronic law.

      ∑ = A full on citizen rebellion against government TOTALITARIANISM.

      Way to go New York State Assemblyman Matthew Titone of Staten Island. The terrorists will <3 LOVE <3 you for wrecking my state. 😛

      BTW: I find it amusing that Titone's website says NOTHING about this moron bill. It makes me wonder what forces may be using him, and possibly other state level representatives, to push this totalitarian abuse of citizens. 🐂💩

      1. From the wording of this law, Apple is in the clear. Nowhere does it say that the “manufacturer or operating system provider” has to do it without the passcode provided by the owner of the device. Heck, I’m capable of it if I have the passcode.

        1. I posted a large portion of the law in my post at the bottom of the first page of comments. You’ll find that Apple WOULD be culpable and would have to pay the civil fines for the selling of each iOS device.

          The law says nothing about manufacturers having to actually decrypt the devices. That concept would have to be applied by way of a legal warrant against the individual owning the device. At that time a law enforcement agency would approach Apple and ask for decryption to be applied. If there is no method of decryption, then the company simply responds ‘Sorry, we don’t have a way to fulfill your request’ and that’s that.

  3. NY city alone has the biggest and most profitable Apple stores and number of employees of all….Asshole, mwanna start a fight with America’s model corporate citizen???

    We say take a hike!

  4. What morons like this guy do not understand is that you can just buy one online. FedEx, UPS, The USPS and DHL will be glad to deliver it. The states have no right to interfere with interstate commerce.

  5. I suspect that someone will now hack into his phone and post all of his personal pictures, email exchanges, bank account information, text messages, call logs, etc., on the internet. After all, if he wants unencrypted phones, someone might get the idea to start with his phone.

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