U.S. House lawmakers seek to outlaw states from banning encrypted iPhones

“U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers will introduce bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would prohibit states from requiring tech companies to build encryption weaknesses into their products,” Dustin Volz reports for Reuters. “The move marks the latest foray into an ongoing debate over encryption between Silicon Valley and Washington.”

“The ENCRYPT Act, sponsored by Democratic Representative Ted Lieu and Republican Blake Farenthold, would prevent any state or locality from mandating that a ‘manufacturer, developer, seller, or provider’ design or alter the security of a product so it can be decrypted or surveilled by authorities, according to bill text viewed by Reuters,” Volz reports. “The legislation is in response to proposals in recent months in New York and California that would require companies to be able to decrypt their smartphones manufactured after 2017, Lieu said. ‘It is completely technologically unworkable for individual states to mandate different encryption standards in consumer products,’ Lieu told Reuters in an interview. ‘Apple can’t make a different smartphone for California and New York and the rest of the country.'”

“It is unclear how much momentum the bill will have in the House, though the chamber has staked out positions sympathetic to digital privacy in recent years,” Volz reports. “Encryption has been an area of disagreement between tech companies and law enforcement authorities for decades, but it gained renewed scrutiny after Apple and Google began offering strong encryption by default on their products in 2014.”

MacDailyNews Take: Let’s get real: Google’s promise of encryption will take several years to roll out to significant numbers of fragmandroid sufferers.

Android 5.0 and 5.0 only comprise 29.5% of Android devices. The percentage of those are encrypted by default is far less than even that due to significant performance issues. Android 6.0, with full-disk encryption on by default, is only running 0.5% of Android devices!

With 22% running iOS 8 and 70% running iOS 9, 92% of Apple’s iOS devices are encrypted.

In other words, stop trying to equate Android with iOS by deeming Google’s efforts as “similar.” Android is a bad joke, as usual.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote early last month: Backdoors = insecurity. Wherever backdoors exist, it’s not only “authorities” exploiting them legally. Only a blooming idiot would believe in a “secure backdoor” accessible only by properly authorized “authorities.”

None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 27, 2015

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Obama administration wants access to smartphones – December 15, 2015
Obama administration’s calls for backdoors into encrypted communications echo Clinton-era key escrow fiasco – December 14, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 8, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: ‘You can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys’ – November 21, 2015
Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
Do not let the government snoops weaken encryption – November 4, 2015
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Judge compares government request for Apple to access users’ iPhone data to execution order – October 27, 2015
U.S. judge expresses doubts over forcing Apple to unlock iPhone – October 26, 2015
Apple tells U.S. judge it can’t unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or higher – October 20, 2015
a href=”http://macdailynews.com/2015/10/20/apple-ceo-cook-defends-encryption-opposes-back-door-for-government-spies/”>Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
With Apple court order, activist federal judge seeks to fuel debate about data encryption – October 12, 2015
Judge declines to order Apple to disable security on device seized by U.S. government – October 10, 2015
Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015


      1. The back-door mandate is a terrible solution, since it ignores scientific fact (as legislatures are wont to do). However, we should not pretend that there is not a real problem that they are seeking to solve. Strong encryption makes it essentially impossible to execute a lawful constitutional search warrant under even the most exigent circumstances. I am not referring to unconstitutional blanket searches that will deluge the agencies with garbage data, but to pinpoint searches based on particularized probable cause that has been vetted by a neutral magistrate. The Fourth Amendment specifically allows that sort of reasonable search and seizure, but strong encryption makes it nearly impossible. As it happens, one of the crimes that is nearly impossible to prove without gaining access to encrypted files is child pornography. Another is almost any sort of financial fraud. With strong encryption, more of those criminals will go unpunished. Again, the suggested remedy does not really address the problem appropriately, but that does not mean that the problem does not exist.

  1. I’m not smart enough to know what the right answer is here, but encryption fans will suddenly change their tune when one of their loved ones gets killed by a terrorist and nobody can trace the communications because of the encryption.

    1. Even if the phone itself in not encrypted, you can still run encryption software on it and have encrypted data on the phone. There’s plenty of open source libraries the bad guys (whoever they are) can use to built encrypted solutions.

    2. Unbelievable numbers of Americans have been killed by privately owned guns, but there has been no real change to laws relating to gun ownership. I don’t see that an encrypted phone linked to a terrorist attack would substantially change anything either. All it would do is to ratchet up the level of debate for a while.

      You can’t pretend that guns never existed and neither can you pretend that encryption never existed. They are both here and even if you legislated to stop the goods guys from using them, who is going to stop the bad from guys using them?

      The solution is not for the intelligence services to gather all possible data, they would be overwhelmed. Many recent terrorist outrages around the world have been carried out by people who were already known to the intelligence services, but those people were not regarded as being a significant threat. Intelligence services need tho make more effective use of the information that they already have, rather than gather significantly more information.

    3. Not really, there is a war mongering organization that has no qualms about invading another country on a whim, conducts cyber espionage and sabotage, tortures innocent people and is totally bereft of ethics or morality.

      Everyone from the free and civilized world knows what this organization is and the atrocities it commits but when it comes to bringing forth those responsible to answer for their crimes against humanity it’s justice denied for now.

      Encryption is there to partially protect innocent people of the free and civilized world from these sorts not that it matters much for now, but it will.

  2. The USA is the largest terrorist organization on the planet. The USA kills more people in the name of exceptionalism, piety and righteousness than any other entity, even ISIS. The world needs encryption to protect itself from the USA.

    1. “You must do something to crack down on iPhone theft!”
      Ok. Bullet proof password lock with Apple ID.
      Stolen iPhones drop dramatically.
      “You must stop doing what we told you to do before… maybe, sort of…hell, who’s in charge here…?

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