California bill would require ‘back door’ access to encrypted phones

California bill would require ‘back door’ access to encrypted phones

Following a similar bill being proposed in New York, California is jumping on the bandwagon with Assembly Bill No. 1681, put in motion by Jim Cooper. This bill would require smartphones to have a “back door” for access to encrypted content. 

The argument presented as legislation is for “Human Trafficking Evidentiary Access,” which would “require a smartphone that is manufactured on or after January 1, 2017, and sold in California, to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” 

Any smartphone that cannot be decrypted on demand would be subject to a $2,500 fine. If the bill becomes law, all iPhones (and many other smartphones) would no longer be sold in California if their current encryption features are not changed. 

California assembly member Jim Cooper, told Ars Technica, “For the industry to say its privacy, it really doesn’t hold any water. We’re going after human traffickers and people who are doing bad and evil things. Human trafficking trumps privacy, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

My thoughts

There is an old saying.. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” which is so true.  

For those of you who may not know me, I tend to lean more on the side of security rather than convenience. Everyone has their own line between convenience and security. With that said. 

I understand the need for law enforcement to gain quick access to data in order to save lives. I am in no way belittling this. What is being proposed is huge, a Pandora’s box if you will.. Once it's  let out there is no going back, people need to understand its impact. 

Look back at all the security breaches over the past few years or even months. We have had everything from California DMV to health care leaks in 2015. One of the main reasons I stood behind apple is because it has continued to pioneer and refuses to give in to government and city requests to for backdoor's and decryption keys. 

As I stated before the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you build it, even for good intention it will sooner or later be used for the wrong reasons, be it a security breach, a politician or government use. Your privacy will become a thing of the past, once the flood gates are open. 

People could argue even if it saves one life, it’s worth it. If you really think about how much sensitive information we store on our phones, everything from contacts, credit cards to health and biometric data. Would we all be safe if that gets out?  Were not talking about identity theft, that would be the least of the problems. How about people on witness protection, or celebrities with orders of protection to Financial records of millionaires with contact info of their children. 

I do have strong opinions on this, but as such there is a need to understand all sides, please voice yours in the comments.. Or if you would rather voice your opinions directly, here is Jim Cooper's twitter: @asmjimcooper



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