Ill-conceived California phone decryption bill defeated

“A national debate over smartphone encryption arrived in Sacramento on Tuesday as legislators defeated a bill penalizing companies that don’t work with courts to break into phones, siding with technology industry representatives who called the bill a dangerous affront to privacy,” Jeremy B. White reports for The Sacramento Bee.

“The bill did not receive a vote, with members of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection worrying the measure would undermine data security and impose a logistically untenable requirement on California companies,” White reports. “Assembly Bill 1681 would authorize $2,500 penalties against phone manufacturers and operating system providers if they do not obey court orders to decrypt phones.”

“Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, a former sheriff’s deputy who led an Internet crimes task force, called it ‘mind-bogglin’ that search warrants allow access to peoples’ houses but not necessarily to their phones,” White reports. “Apple, Google and organizations representing the tech and wireless industries took the opposite view, arguing the bill would both erode personal privacy and imperil security by exposing information to hackers and other criminals. Other opponents included the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Bankers Association. ‘Fundamentally weakening the security of smartphones in the way AB 1681 envisions not only doesn’t make us safer, it actually makes us less safe,’ warned Internet Association lobbyist Robert Callahan, who called encryption ‘an incredibly important tool in today’s interconnected, Internet-enabled world to keep data secure.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) likely finds a lot of things to be mind-boggling.

California bill would force makers to disable encryption on all phones – March 10, 2016
U.S. Congressman introduces bill to forbid federal agencies from purchasing Apple products until company unlocks terrorist’s iPhone – March 3, 2016
Proposed New York State bill looks to outlaw sale of encrypted smartphones – January 14, 2016


    1. Unfortunately, it’s simply random noise.

      Did you hear that they changed the “Welcome to Calfornia” signs? They no longer say “The Golden State,” but rather, “The Country of the Mad.”

  1. Sure is one sided: “Cellphones protected by full-disk encryption offer criminals a digital fortress in which to hide and operate freely, Cooper and his law enforcement backers argued.”

    One could also say that: “Cellphones protected by full-disk encryption offer law abiding citizens a digital fortress in which to hide and operate freely.”

    Now I can’t speak for all places but I’d be willing to bet that that majority of citizens from the free and civilized world are ethical and law abiding with a sense of morality. There have always been criminals and there are lots of other ways to catch them other than pilfering into their cell phones.

    If you seriously want to access a cellphone and have no morals or ethics, it’s simply a matter of labeling a suspect an enemy combatant and send them to the lovely Guantanamo on the Bay Resort. I’m sure after a weekend there they would have no trouble getting all they want for a cellphone.

    1. Your obsession with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is beyond pathological. You should seek extensive professional help. You have GTMO OCD.

      By the way, hopey-changers, despite oblahblah’s repeated promises, gitmo is still wide open for business, you gullible fools.

      Under Obama, the Justice Department closed its purported investigation of the CIA’s use of interrogation methods, because investigators said they could not prove any agents crossed the lines authorized by the Bush administration in the War on Terror program of detention and rendition. According to the New York Times the closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s dog and pony show over counterterrorism programs, such as waterboarding, carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end.

      1. It’s funny to hear that from someone that was called, what First 2012, Then 2014, or was it First 2010, Then 2012.

        That place has been opened since 2002, that’s over a decade. It’s still open. It’s still keeping people who are denied any justice or protection by the Geneva convention thanks to that nation’s immoral stance against humanity. The torture may have stopped but denial of justice still goes on, and those who have instigated the torture, who have committed these crimes humanity are still scott free. When it comes to a putrid nation putting people above the law it’s mission accomplished.

        Those are the pathological ones, not the ones that points out that the Empire is wearing no ethics nor morality.

        Demoncrat or Repubican, I can’t really tell the difference, all you terrorists look the same to me, be it ISIS or USUS.

        Justice denied, it’s your nation’s way. I may beyond pathological but it’s a far cry from being a plague on humanity.

  2. The history of search warrants goes back to colonial times and even before. The idea was that the king and later the government could not barge into your private dwelling and go through your stuff, just trying to see what they could find. In the United States, this concept was embodied in the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which states in part, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.” The idea that there could be a Secure Enclave, a place which could only be accessed with the agreement of the owner, was inconceivable. Fast forward to the digital era, the 21st century. Such a secure digital space is not only conceivable, but in use by businesses and individuals all over the world to keep important information such as health and financial records secure and protected from being exploited by criminals. If indeed it is not possible to have both, access to information by a lawful warrant and protection and security of information from criminals and others who would exploit it, then we will have to rethink the concept of the warrant and not try and force 21st century technology into an 18th century understanding of what privacy is.

  3. Phone encryption doesn’t prevent law enforcement agencies from breaking into iPhones with a search warrant. The FBI did that with a warrant authorizing it to do so with the San Bernadino iPhone by employing some professional hackers.

    What’s at stake is forcing companies to degrade the security on their devices to aid law enforcement, which unfortunately also aids others with less noble objectives to steal sensitive data from their customers. This would result in many unintended consequences which would over time discourage using those iPhones to hold sensitive information, basically killing an entire industry just to prosecute a criminal.

    Freedom is about trade offs. Government is supposed to be enforcing our Constitutional rights, not undermining them. If our freedom is dependent upon someone occasionally setting off a bomb, then that’s the price we must pay. Most citizens don’t seem to mind wackos regularly killing dozens of citizens with assault rifles, when the trade off is placing restrictions on gun sales, and that 2nd Amendment is no more important than this issue.

    1. I think the concern of law enforcement is that eventually, perhaps very soon, encryption technolgy will be impossible to crack. Then what? The time to have that discussion is now, because it’s surely coming very soon.

    2. Wrong, very wrong. We the people enforce our constitutional rights. Those rights are guaranteed by the constitution and the bill of rights to keep us from being placed under a government fist. There is no such thing as “freedom is about trade offs,” about security, not in the United States of America.

      1. Another POV is that it is ridiculous, unfair and fortunately illegal to penalize the many for the murderous and destructive behavior of the few. We know full well what the US Constitution says. If a person chooses to lock up their personal belongings in order to be inaccessible to anyone else, that is their right. If they get arrested and choose not to unlock those personal belongings, that is also their right. If they die and the belongings remain locked up forever as a result, refer back to their right to lock up their personal belongings and deal with it.

        What we have going on is an INCONVENIENCE of locked up personal belongings. If the person is a US citizen, they made their legal choice. Case closed.

        Heaping on RHETORIC and LIES and ‘THINK OF THE CHILDREN’ is irrelevant and will always be irrelevant. The fundamental law of the US Constitution remains as a solid immovable object. Too bad if its inconvenient.

        Attempting to pummel at and crumble the US Constitution is what TERRORISTS do. Penalize the many for the crimes of the few terrorists etc. and the terrorists etc. WIN. They successfully hurt ALL of us through their actions. Success.

        So be glad we have our rights. Defend them or lose them. They are FAR more important than any single or mass actions by criminals.

        Amusing: The bad attitude of biznizzis these days is that the customer is a DEFAULT CRIMINAL. This became blatantly evident when Sony installed root kit malware onto their music CDs. You play the disks on a PC and the machine is automatically infected with the root kit. The root kit then surveils the customer’s music habits and sends them back to Sony. If the customer is ripping music, Sony finds out and sues. Sony seriously thought they could get away with this CRIME. They attacked and infected ALL their customers for the sake of the few crooks who were copying/stealing media.

        Note the similarity between Sony’s bad attitude and that of #MyStupidGovernment? It’s not a coincidence. We are all default criminals in #MyStupidGovernment’s eyes. Therefore, it mass surveilled us all and may well still be mass surveilling us all. Kick the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the side. Being able to read our personal data is more important to them, we default criminals all. 😛

        1. Well Sony violated the innocent until proven guilty principle, as you point out. On a more practical level, they installed software on our property without permission on one hand, or warrant on the other.

          ‘The children’ is not cause to violate the Constitution, but back doors can indeed be legally legislated, the wisdom of their non-absolute effectiveness notwithstanding.

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