Controversial Smartphone decryption bill defeated

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 15, 2016 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Tuesday, April 12th, the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee faced a controversial bill that debated public safety and consumer privacy protection. The bill was brought to fruition after the tragic San Bernardino attack in December of last year, when the FBI requested Apple, the manufacturer of the IPhone and iOS8 operating system, to decrypt and unlock the phone of the perpetrator involved in the act.
In 2014, Apple released a new operating system for smartphones and tablets that employed “full-disk encryption” (FDE). FDE effectively made data stored on the devices using this operating system inaccessible without a passcode. Shortly after that Google provided the same default FDE on their newest operating system on their smartphones and tablets. Since that time, both Apple and Google have intentionally incorporated default FDE on all their operating systems for smartphones and tablets.
AB 1681 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), authorized $2,500 penalties against phone manufacturers and operating system providers if they do not obey court orders to decrypt phones.
A group led by the tech industry, business leaders, and CMTA opposed the bill arguing that being able to decrypt smartphones for public safety was not the proper solution to protect California’s citizens and could cause more damage and create more problems by not protecting individual’s private information putting them at greater risk of identity theft.
The Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee rejected AB 1681 on Tuesday when the bill failed to brought up for a vote. 


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