Dianne Feinstein’s response to Apple-FBI dispute is bad for privacy, security

“We knew that Sen. Diane Feinstein was cooking up a bill with North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr in response to Apple’s dispute with the FBI over the San Bernarndino iPhone,” Troy Wolverton writes for SiliconBeat. “We knew that the bill was going to target companies like Apple that refused to help the government unscramble encrypted data. And we suspected, given Feinstein’s past history of being unconcerned about anyone’s privacy other than her own, that the bill was going to be pretty bad for the privacy of everyday citizens and the security of tech products.”

“How bad? Well we now know,” Wolverton writes. “The bill would require companies, in response to a court order, to decrypt data stored on devices they make, apps they design or online services they offer. It would compel them to provide to governments whatever technical assistance ‘is necessary’ to unscramble the data.”

“Perhaps worst of all, the bill would essentially require Apple, Google and other operators of application stores to ensure that the data sent through the apps they sell through them can all be unscrambled as well,” Wolverton writes. “Needless to say, consumer, privacy and tech industry advocates trashed the bill.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month regarding this idiotic bill: “Encryption is a binary issue. It’s either on or off. There is no middle ground. There is no magical ‘access’ for just the ‘good guys.’ …Oppose ill-informed senators like Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein who seem to live in some fantasyland that does not exist.”

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

White House declines to support legislation to defeat strong encryption – April 7, 2016
U.S. Senator Wyden pledges to fight limits on encryption – March 31, 2016
California Democrat Diane Feinstein backs U.S. government overreach over Apple – March 10, 2016


    1. The unfortunate bit is that the US government is made up of something like 60-70% lawyers (unreferenced so please look up), and only a minority have science, technology, engineering, or medical backgrounds. They are used to winning arguments not by being correct but by presenting the better argument. So they are ill-posed to deal with these sorts of situations.

    2. If you did that, you’d have a lot of congress perons and senators with nothing to do.

      I don’t think that really addresses the problem with Sen. Feinstein. Bottom line, she doesn’t really care about your privacy.

    3. It would seem like a woman senator would particularly understand that “a little pregnant” is an oxymoron. Security that anybody can easily crack is security that EVERYBODY can easily crack. Encryption is a mathematical algorithm that is either secure or not. If keys exist, they will get into the public domain. Unsafe phones pose financial and very real physical threats to their owners. Does the Senator want a stalker to have access to her location data? Her bill is a good way to let them have it.

      1. Why should she care? She’s got free round the clock security, because she’s *important*.

        And an unrepentant statist, which just makes it worse.

    4. This is Feinstein. She is in a category by herself.

      Look at how screwed up and dysfunctional California is and one of the core reasons will be Diane Feinstein and another will be Barbara Boxer. Feinstein was a proud defender of fannie mae and freddie mac and rejected any evidence of possible failure up to the point where the 2008 financial collapse occurred. She tries to destroy the 2nd Amendment at every possible opportunity, while herself enjoying a conceal carry permit. She firmly believes in the power of the government over the people. She is anti-freedom, anti-privacy, anti-business, and anti-individuality. She is a collectivist’s collectivist. She was a champion of this stupid multi-billion dollar train between LA and SF, and lo and behold her husband wins a billion dollar contract for the construction of the first phase. She is walking corruption in a skirt. She is the epitome of Democrat big government stupidity, and now she’s screwing with technology.

      It’s irrational legislation that essentially breaks the internet let alone screws with mobile device encryption.

      1. Don’t forget Mz. Dear caught in the Headlights, Nancy Pelosi. Each of these three married wealthy husbands who bought them a political office to get them out of the house.

    5. She’s equally up to speed on medical cannabis. She and Sen. Grassley just ran a hearing with only witnesses opposing it who seemed to have completed their weighing of the evidence by watching Reefer Madness….

  1. She needs to realize that this puts the country’s data at risk. It’s not about a serial killer or a terrorist, though those are important, but if you have a back door, it’s a back door into the military, or security services, or to any government office. It’s very very dangerous.

  2. Let’s ask the DVD and BluRay industry about encryption and protecting data.

    Let’s use their system for banking, medical records, messaging and email systems.

  3. Feinstein has an excellent idea and on the mark. Hopefully it is passed and all the hackers can attack her equipment and see what they are doing. Once decrypted the info can be openly given to the public. Yes, finally- we can see what these arse holes are doing and make them accountable to the public. Including the inside trading, bribing ,prostitution, and all other maladies that ensue. Because they will open up there own accounts for all to hack. Lovely to have a back door to their services.

  4. This is why congresmen and cogresswomen should be forced to retire at 65. I am a lifelong Democrat (no need for right wing comments here) and have to say that between Diane Feinstein’s lack of belief in our constitutional right to privacy and her even more clueless ideas about medical cannabis, it’s time she retired and allowed those living in the modern world to take her place. By the way, I’m 66 and have nothing against older people working. I just have no patients for Luddites.

      1. All Senator’s and Representatives should have to leave after 8 years, with only an 8 year pension.

        I’ve written my two senators and my representative about this abomination of the Bill of Rights. I also asked them if they want Comey to be the next J Edgar Hoover and compile information on them.

  5. It’s so much fun when the forked tongues come out a wagging:

    Mentzer: “No individual or company is above the law.”
    My slant: Sure thing, especially when you can make laws to circumvent stuff like the Geneva convention and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate with statements like “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” made by bareback Obama that basically puts a potential criminal above the law. No court for G.W. Bush, no justice for anyone, but what a lovely resort at Guantanamo on the Bay.

    Then there are those who have hit the nail right on the head like Joseph Lorenzo Hall: The bill is “insane,” he said. “It’s madness.”
    No surprise here, the country has been like that for a while now, it’s nothing new.

    I still think it might but a fun idea for Apple to do the following:

    A. Develop a newly designed iPhone, with the following components:
    – A unique device ID.
    – A GPS locator.
    – A database with codes (aka Code 1111) to serve as a country identifier.
    – A Self-destruct mechanism: The sort of Mission Impossible stuff that Steve Jobs would dream up. He’d have a hey day with this but one comment I read somewhere is that Tim Cook is doing an exemplary job at being a leader right now and I think Steve Jobs would have been and/or is proud of what Tim is doing.

    B. Take a walk to the UN, downtown New York and give Code 1111 to any and every government on the planet that wants it with an optional code 2222 as an additional security layer for a government to use it as they please. In other words if they want to put a codes for ambulance, police and fire departments etc. that’s up to the governments to petition for it. That way each government can take responsibility for every unique device assigned (sold to) their country.

    The security features engaged by the device ID, GPS locator, database code (code 1111 for each country) would have to be in sync for it to work. An Iceland iphone could not be accessed outside of Iceland. If it’s that important ship it there.

    C. Lynch Pin: Here’s the catch. You can use Code 1111 once on the unit. It will self-destruct upon shut down or after a certain time. That to me is the tricky part, that technological Mission Impossible.

    Some countries will probably limit the code to very few people, maybe even one. That’s their business. Some might like the extension of code 2222 to build security codes into their phones that can be accessed on their territory by say members of the fire department, police, and ambulance services.

    Others might take it to the extreme, some country say Iceland gives out their Code 1111 not only to their own citizens but to the world. Essentially anyone could access an Icelandic iPhone (unique device ID) in Iceland (GPS locator) using the code for Iceland, Code 1111.

    F. Would it really work?: I’ve been pondering this, running a lot of potential scenarios in my head under the Iceland scenario, looking at the nasties. I don’t really see it good for thieves, though a short fad of “hey Mr. wanna buy an iPhone? I only used it once.” might be fun. Data theft, well that’s always an issue, probably be a big one, so keep your iPhone in a safe, because now it’s searchable. Of course other countries may not be so opened and will limit and determine which citizens get access to the code. Folks who suspect their spouses are cheating might be in for trouble when their iPhone no longer works, sure to be some interesting court cases on that if Iceland were to go that way.

    Not to mention the potential for some drunken party on the island where someone says “Let’s see if this Code 1111 really works, pass me your iPhone and a beer.”

    That’s the question, would it really work? Is it even worth looking at such an idea? I don’t know but if there is an elegant solution, you can bet that Apple is looking at it.

    Meanwhile evolution is the solution.

  6. Wouldn’t you know when a Republican and Democrat got together it would be for something like this – a spectacular ill-considered display of sheer stupidity by any measure by the politico tech ignorant. Only idiots would proceed with this kind of bill once it was explained to them.

    Do something else actually useful in your largely wasted political lives on the public’s dime. No wonder this country is so mismanaged. Makes you wonder about all the other questionable things they do we don’t know as much about.

  7. It’s fair to criticize the bill, but it’s blatantly biased to put the blame on Feinstein alone, as the headline to this article does.
    The co sponsor is a Republican senator, Richard Burr. Last I checked, the Republicans controlled the Senate, meaning he outranks her, and meaning that if any bill gets through it will only do so with the blessings of the Republican party. That’s the way it works.

    So why not have a headline about how Richard Burr’s response is so bad…hmm…could it be because he’s a Republican? I love the site, but I do have to admit that it is biased towards Republicans/conservatives…you know, the neo Fascist party.

    1. If you would bother or take the time to look at the article you will see it’s written by Troy Wolverton for the SiliconBeat. He’s also a writer for the San Jose Mercury. Guess where Silicone Valley and San Jose are located wade? Guess who is a senator in that state wade.

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