By now we’ve all heard that the FBI, with the backing of the Obama administration, is going after Apple directly to force the company to create a backdoor entry to access encrypted data on our smartphones. What you may not have heard is that state officials on both coasts have begun introducing proposals to uphold that policy at the state level.
Assembly Bill 1681, introduced in January by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, would require any smartphone sold in California “to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” Any manufacturer or operating system provider who knowingly did not comply would then be subject to a civil penalty of $2,500 for each smartphone sold or leased.
This proposal might be even more drastic than the legal precedent at stake in Apple’s battle with the Justice Department. Not only is it unconstitutional due to its burden on interstate commerce, but, as EFF puts it...
“By impacting every smartphone user in the state, this bill would affect tens of millions of people who have done nothing wrong... If passed, it would leave Californians at risk for identity theft, data breach, stalking, and other invasions of privacy, with little benefit to law enforcement. It would be both ineffective and impossible to enforce.”
Unfortunately, the idea is still gaining steam. Similar proposals have already been made by a district attorney in Manhattan and a nearly identical bill is pending in the New York State Assembly.
Help fight for the privacy and safety of Californians so that your state isn’t next. Sign EFF’s petition to stop California lawmakers from undermining smartphone security for millions at act.eff.org/action.
Tell California lawmakers not to undermine smartphone encryption: https://t.co/SxYDYLL3nD— EFF (@EFF) March 10, 2016
Sign the EFF petition to fight California Assembly Bill 1681 at https://act.eff.org/action/don-t-let-california-lawmakers-undermine-smartphone-security
Follow @EFF on Twitter for the latest updates on the petition and other actions to protect privacy.
Donate to support the work of EFF at https://supporters.eff.org/donate/button
Read the entire Assembly Bill 1681
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #997 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_997_privacy_encryption
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.