Proposed California bill looks to outlaw sale of encrypted smartphones

“California: home of the world’s biggest technology companies, terrible bagels, and the only place that can suffer both drought and floods at the same time,” Zack Whittaker reports for ZDNet. “Despite the state’s deep tech roots, California’s legislature is considering banning devices that come with unbreakable encryption.”

“California assembly member Jim Cooper (D-9th) introduced the legislation — bill 1681 — which requires any smartphone manufactured “on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date” to be ‘capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider,'” Whittaker reports. “Any smartphone that couldn’t be decrypted on-demand would subject a seller to a $2,500 fine.”

Whittaker reports, “If the bill becomes law, there would be a near-blanket ban on nearly all iPhones and many Android devices across the state.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No one should ever mistake a California legislator for a rocket scientist.

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

Oh, and they should both move their companies out of California to boot.

Adhere to the U.S. Constitution. And stop electing idiots.

Contact California Assemblyman Jim Cooper here.

Additional contact information for California Assemblyman Jim Cooper:

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Room 5158
Sacramento, CA 94249-0009
Tel: (916) 319-2009
Fax: (916) 319-2109

District Office:
9250 Laguna Springs Drive, Suite 220
Elk Grove, CA 95758
Tel: (916) 670-7888
Fax: (916) 670-7893

Proposed New York State bill looks to outlaw sale of encrypted smartphones – January 14, 2016
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


  1. Anyone, with very little knowledge, can obtain and use encryption software such as that used to ZIP files. Any moderately smart criminal uses those encryption methods already, on top of any encryption provided by their cell phone manufacturer.

    The politicians, with their uninformed blanket back doors will not be making it much easier to catch criminals, but much easier for criminals to hack into our phones.

    Seems stupid to me.

    1. To catch those criminals using their own encryption methods then, an additional bill has to be submitted outlawing ALL ‘unbreakable’ encryption. Otherwise like you say it won’t slow down the criminals.

      1. That is exactly the point, Government wants to FEAR, so we give away our rights.
        The true terrorist will prevent earsdroping, and even if a small portion of bad guys may be unaware and use a phone openly, I don’t with to loose my privacy to this fears.
        The alternative is worse The goberment has the keys to see my communications, and data even if I Die.

  2. Don’t buy into the BS and hyperbole this politicians are selling.
    If your provider or the manufacturer has a copy of the key then its not secure – you might as well forget using encryption.

  3. This looks like a huge advantage to Nevada and other surrounding states as long as they too don’t go brain dead. I see all sorts of wireless companies setting up stores right across the border from CA. Like when I was a kid in Wisconsin and there was a ban on selling margarine in Wisconsin. Every road going into Illinois had stands on the Illinois side selling margarine.

  4. I do hope that some governmental organizations of the free and civilized world take the opposite ethical and moral stance, that is computer devices sold will require encryption to protect the data and privacy of their citizens. That way the blessed encrypted Apple devices will flourish where they should.

  5. Contact Jim Cooper and let him know what you think of his GrEAt IdEa…!!———————-
    Capitol Office:
    State Capitol
    P.O. Box 942849
    Room 5158
    Sacramento, CA 94249-0009
    Tel: (916) 319-2009
    Fax: (916) 319-2109

    District Office:
    9250 Laguna Springs Drive, Suite 220
    Elk Grove, CA 95758
    Tel: (916) 670-7888
    Fax: (916) 670-7893

    1. Just a bit of info regarding your elected representatives. With a bit of googling, you could find this info on your own, but here it is. Your elected representative will spend on you much less time than you spent communicating with him.

      Vast majority of them will simply ignore e-mails from constituents. It takes a minute or two to write one, and even less when it is an online petition that requires a simple click to sign and submit (there is even a term for this: “slacktivism” — activism for slackers who can’t be bothered to get up from their couch). Writing an actual paper letter will at least get someone to read it before throwing it away, which means, if there are hundreds of physical letters about the same thing, the representative (or his office staff) will notice. The most effective way to influence your congressman or senator is to take a trip to his local office, and even more effective, to Washington , D.C. and either find a way to schedule a meeting with him (nearly impossible) or deliver your letter in person.

      1. Interesting. In the UK, if you write to or email your Member of Parliament, they are legally obliged to reply.

        I also happen to know my MP personally—makes for some interesting conversations 😀


    2. Apple has a plant in Elk Grove, not only the State of California. Cooper is edging for something.

      I don’t think encryption is the issue. These guys are not idiots. I think they want money from Apple and this is an excuse to get to it.

      I am hearing the message, stop the terrorists, don’t give them the tools. However we all know they have the tools already. Tim has gone to Washington and told them what’s at risk. They all know.

    3. I just spoke with his office (although I am not his constituent). His office (916) 319-2009 took 20 minutes with me. I believe his approach is very wrong, but they were considerate.

      His stated rationale is that human trafficking is a huge issue in his district and that he feels law enforcement needs this too to help in prosecutions.

      I focused on a single issue and one point of education.
      My concern was that if he was successful in forcing any back door) countries with horrible human rights would also require the same and now have an even more chilling tool for repression.

      The educated point was that it would not achieve his goals of getting to the communication of the traffickers as they would just go upstream and utilize software that highly protects/encrypts their communication and that no phone manufacturer would be able to help with anyway.

      I do realize there are many good points why this should never come to pass but wanted you all to know that they are taking feedback by phone and that if we respect their motives/goals that having a calm conversation as to why this won’t help them get there while causing damage in other ways could be positive.

      Their advice was to call my local assembly-person to continue.

      Like I said I am in strong disagreement, but I feel it was very positive that they did offer me a fair amount of time to mention my concerns.

      1. That was a very admirable thing to do Bruce, thank you for that action and sharing the results with us here at this forum.

        Any technology tool can be used for good or nefarious ends, depending on the user. It’s been that way since cave paintings and the wheel. It’s the attitude of the user, and education certainly is an approach that tends to cultivate a humanistic approach, and you took your time to point that out to them, let’s hope they listen to it and come to reason.

        When a technology tool comes about there will be those who embrace it, for altruistic or selfish purposes. Encryption is such a tool and I doubt it will be going away soon. When available it serves to protect an individuals right to privacy for better or worse. To remove or prevent such a technology is a return to the cave in my opinion and that is not the way to go.

        Again thanks for your actions.

      2. Check out how he announced the legislation:

        “This morning, I held a press conference to announce the introduction of AB 1681.

        It’s time that we put women and children first and combat ‪#‎human trafficking‬.

        AB 1681 would restore a critical investigative tool and help law enforcement apprehend and prosecute suspects that commit crimes against women and children.”

        Can you believe this crap?

    1. WOW—- MORONIC Statement of the day…..
      Guess you don’t get to read much……
      Here, I’ll do it for you………………..
      The California State Legislature is the state legislature of California. It is a bicameral body consisting of the lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members, and the upper house, the California State Senate, with 40 members.
      Both chambers of the California legislature have been dominated by the Democratic Party since 1959 except in 1969 to 1971 when the Republican Party held both chambers and from 1994 to 1996, when Republicans briefly held a majority in the Assembly. Each member represents about 423,396 residents, as of the 2000 Census.[1]

      California’s voters imposed term limits on their State Senators and State Assembly Members in 1990; Senators could not serve for more than two terms (total of eight years) and Assembly Members could not serve for more than three terms (total of six years). California voters modified these limits in 2012 that modified term limits to allow legislators to serve 12 years total – but could spend all 12 in either house (total of three Senate terms or six Assembly terms).

      The California legislature has been full-time since 1966.[2]

      As of January 2016, California was one of seven Democratic state government trifectas.

      1. Bill,

        Obviously Kent is blind to his political beliefs the same way someone who blindly follows a religion. No different then a suicide bomber who will blow themselves up and anyone who doesn’t think like they do. The only facts Kent cares about is his own opinion. Kent is obviously incapable of free thought.

        1. It’s Democratic Party. That’s the name. That would be like saying Republic party instead of republican.

          Just because a talk show host says it that way doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s grammatically and factually wrong. Stop being a stooge and listening to right wing radio.

          And before you get all bent out of shape and call me names… Read my post further down this page.

    2. On what planet? They have a Democrat governor, a Democrat legislature, and they are seizing as much power to interfere with people and business as they possibly can. And what difference does it make, really? Both parties serve the same interests, and those interests are not the interests of the people. I tell friends to move themselves and their businesses out of California poste haste, because it looks to me like the state is rapidly and eagerly turning into a Big Brother police state.

  6. Being either a democrat or a republican does not make the representative smart or stupid… There are many idiots on both sides of the aisle, and there are many smart reasonable people on both sides of the aisle.
    In this case, a democrat proposed the legislation. That’s not indicative of the Democratic Party, or other representatives… It just means he’s an idiot who is uninformed, or he has very specific backers and interests to serve who wanted him to do it.
    That goes for all the representatives on both sides of the political spectrum.
    At this point, it seems there is a very big push by the “deep state” to get encryption outlawed. And that is exacting pressure on vulnerable lawmakers to push that agenda. Companies like Apple, who value privacy and customers, need to assert themselves and take very strong action that will adversely effect this push.

    1. In two U.S. states so far where anti-encryption bills have been introduced, they’ve come only from those in the Democrat Party. 100%.

      “The proposed bill from New York Assemblyman Matthew Titone (Democrat) would mean 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.”

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

      1. But that’s still not indicative of the party as a whole. Would you say trump represents all republicans? Or Jim Inhoffe?

        If there is a vulnerable republican who is aligned with the deep state… They will propose this type of legislation also. The rhetoric coming from all of the candidates so far, save rand Paul, has been of cooperating with the concept of breaking encryption. From all of them.

        In the 9 years I’ve been posting here, I’ve never revealed my political affiliation, or beliefs. But, it may be time since everyone else seems to have blinders on. I’m a republican. Have been since I was old enough to vote, and my entire family is as well. But, I have felt that my particular belief system (socially liberal, fiscally conservative) is not represented anymore. My family would be called I guess “northeast republicans”. It seems as though if you don’t agree lock stock and barrel with all the right wing attack shit, you can’t be a republican anymore. It’s dishearting. I have the same feelings about the left wing as well, and it’s just problematic that the center seems to be unattended. Or that we can’t have a debate or a reasoned argument without someone calling someone a name, or “proving a point”…

      2. No response? What a shock… Offer a reasoned argument and don’t get anything in return. I don’t know why I’m surprised based on your other posts. I just felt we could have an actual discourse.

        1. Just another example of how divide and conquer politics is working in this country, with its millions of overweight TV watchers. I fear for my childrens’ future thanks to ignorance like this.

  7. Just FYI to understand background. The author of the bill, Jim Cooper, is a retired deputy sheriff who retired at the under-sheriff level. Of course, he wants to help his fellow officers. At least, that is my assumption.

    1. By the time a LEO rises to the top of their organization, they’re almost invariably more political on outlook than their rank-and-file officers. That’s the way the game is played, and has been for a very long time, and certainly has been that way in California.

      I seriously doubt that Rep. Cooper is atypical in that respect.

  8. And this backdoor is for every police dept/authority in the world to use? And if this backdoor will be for US only, would any professional dealing with any sort of secret material use an iPhone? There is, how strange as that might seem – a world outside of California or – for that matter NY. Those demanding backdoors through encryption gotta be truly retarded…

  9. How long have we had users actually encrypt their data? How long has SSL, that is, HTTPS:// certificates been decryptable by the NSA, or any other party?

    That is when you are banking on line, reading web-mail, using Facebook or any other social media, etc.

    My questions are meant to open consideration that we have always been leaky, open and watched, to some extent.

    Terrorists will be terrorists, and they are of standard concern. What is especially of concern is regular people going rogue, the Bundy(s) and other parties which are becoming more radicle.

    There’s a new book out, “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer. I don’t want to suggest conspiracy, and I know the source is the Washington Post. I just want to point out, that there’s issues greater than our own conversation that would certainly be considered by some of proposals being brought up by our representatives.

    1. Really weird thing about SSL: It supports different encryption algorithms, including industrial grade near-unbreakable algorithms like AES-256. It has for decades. It also supports a variety of super weak, break-it-within-a-couple-minutes-of-looking-it-up, encryption algorithms. Within the last couple years, these algorithms finally started getting dropped from SSL.

      When I got into web development years ago, I was really confused by this: every major web browser and server available was fully capable of using SSL with unbreakable encryption. With very minor adjustments, you can force all your SSL connections to require high level encryption, and reject using algorithms known to have critical weaknesses. But every single major web browser and server defaulted to supporting a variety of easy-to-break algorithms, throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Somehow, none of the developers involved were able to say, “Hey, next version, let’s drop these weak encryption algorithms, so SSL has to use the good algorithm” – or they said as much but were never able follow through for some reason.

      Years later, with the Snowden leaks, I finally know why. Systematic government intervention, at all critical levels of web technology development, for the deliberate purpose of keeping encryption weak on the web. Bastards.

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