Proposed bill would ban US states from mandating backdoors in encryption

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2016
A bipartisan bill introduced to the U.S. House of Represenatives on Wednesday would bar individual states and localities from requiring backdoors in encryption, something often demanded by law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies.




The ENCRYPT Act, sponsored Democrat Ted Lieu and Republican Blake Farenthold, was crafted in direct response to proposed rules in New York and California that would require companies to be able to decrypt smarthones, Reuters reported.

"It is completely technologically unworkable for individual states to mandate different encryption standards in consumer products," said Lieu. "Apple can't make a different smartphone for California and New York and the rest of the country."

Though Reuters suggested that the House could be sympathetic to the bill, support could also be influenced by people like FBI Director James Comey, who has regularly warned that encryption could interfere with investigations and put lives at risk. On Tuesday, Comey appeared in front of a Senate panel, where he said that investigators were still unable to access the contents of a phone belonging to one of the shooters responsible for the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, Calif.

Companies like Apple have put their own pressure on U.S. politicians, arguing that leaving holes in encryption would simply make intrusion easier for malicious hackers and/or government surveillance.

The encryption in iOS 8 and iOS 9 is so stringent that even when served with a warrant, Apple claims it can't crack a passcode-protected device. Later versions of Google's Android OS support similar levels of encryption, though it may sometimes have to be enabled manually.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member
    So, the States can't demand it.  The Feds do hate competition you know.
    jbdragonlostkiwiredgeminipacornchip
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Introducing backdoors to secure messenger apps would undermine democracy since you'd never be sure whether you're being spied on; ultimately, it would lead to an orwellian dystopia. (Also, services located abroad (e.g., Threema, which is based in Switzerland) would hardly ever introduce a backdoor.)
    lostkiwicornchip
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Backdoors are a vulnerability. You can't increase security by weakening it.
    jbdragonxiamenbillewtheckmanpmzlostkiwipropodredgeminipacornchip
  • Reply 4 of 25
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,831member
    Cotti said:
    Introducing backdoors to secure messenger apps would undermine democracy since you'd never be sure whether you're being spied on; ultimately, it would lead to an orwellian dystopia.
    You never know whether you're being spied on when having all sorts of other kinds of communication. How do you survive in the real world with this kind of paranoia?
  • Reply 5 of 25
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    edited February 2016 xiamenbillpmzcincyteeredgeminipacornchip
  • Reply 6 of 25
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    Since you apparently didn't notice, this bill is neither promoting nor restricting encryption. It is preventing individual states from restricting encryption, which is fully in your stated comfort zone.
    xzu
  • Reply 7 of 25
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    That would require people to even want the Constitution. I am not convinced most people do anymore. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 25
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,694member
    Good start. Ban "authorized" encryption backdoors completely. Let's hope it passes and gets Obama signature. 
    lostkiwiredgeminipa
  • Reply 9 of 25
    jungmark said:
    Good start. Ban "authorized" encryption backdoors completely. Let's hope it passes and gets Obama signature. 
    Any law that can be written can be amended. Not a good thing.
    cornchip
  • Reply 10 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,355member
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    Easy there, counselor. The 4th amendment has nothing to say about the states. You might be referring to the 14th amendment, something that sprung out of a particularly controversial precedent involving Dred Scott that made it clear that the federal government could not interfere with certain privately held property in the several states. 

    That would require people to even want the Constitution. I am not convinced most people do anymore. 
    There certainly are parts of it that are unpopular. The 13th amendment is rather unpopular in some parts of the south, depending who you ask. And of course, you won't find the word "privacy" anywhere in the text (nor a power of Congress to create an "Air Force.")

    It is entirely possible that we are about to get a lesson on how the 12th Amendment works this December too.
    iosenthusiast
  • Reply 11 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,355member

    jungmark said:
    Good start. Ban "authorized" encryption backdoors completely. Let's hope it passes and gets Obama signature. 
    Any law that can be written can be amended. Not a good thing.
    Well...I for one think the 21st Amendment is a good thing.
    iosenthusiast
  • Reply 12 of 25
    eightzero said:

    Any law that can be written can be amended. Not a good thing.
    Well...I for one think the 21st Amendment is a good thing.
    A constitutional amendment is not the same as a law that is amended. Come on!
  • Reply 13 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,355member
    eightzero said:

    Well...I for one think the 21st Amendment is a good thing.
    A constitutional amendment is not the same as a law that is amended. Come on!
    I presume that you mean that a Constitutional Amendment is more difficult to enact than a statute is. Are you suggesting that statutes should not be alterable? Because that would surely take a...constitutional amendment.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    The Fourth states warrants are an appropriate means for a search. I'm against backdoors as I see them as a straight up vulnerability BUT what's often proposed is a backdoor that a warrant could access and that fits with the 4th Amendment's language.
    "Amendment IV

    The 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, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    That specifically provides for search and seizure when proper warrants have been issued.

  • Reply 15 of 25
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Stop making laws. Any law that is written, can be EASILY changed.

    Making the law to govern a thing in the first place is all that is needed to pave the way for the reverse to occur much easier in the future.

    Stop making new laws. We haven't needed any in 200 years.
    SpamSandwichredraider11
  • Reply 16 of 25
    eightzero said:
    Not comfortable with any laws promoting OR restricting encryption. Once lawmakers sink their claws into something, it will be amended to benefit them. This is not a positive development, despite appearances. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of our "effects" (4th Amendment). Laws and rulings on laws lead to precedent, which is the basis for out-of-control government. We don't need another law to negate already unconstitutional laws, we need to eliminate the original offense!
    Easy there, counselor. The 4th amendment has nothing to say about the states. You might be referring to the 14th amendment, something that sprung out of a particularly controversial precedent involving Dred Scott that made it clear that the federal government could not interfere with certain privately held property in the several states. 

    There certainly are parts of it that are unpopular. The 13th amendment is rather unpopular in some parts of the south, depending who you ask. And of course, you won't find the word "privacy" anywhere in the text (nor a power of Congress to create an "Air Force.")

    It is entirely possible that we are about to get a lesson on how the 12th Amendment works this December too.
    I'd hang my hat on the Commerce Clause as to how they prevent individual states from passing laws banning encryption.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,570member

    Feel the Bern, it is coming.

    I will tell you people fail everytime time to see the long term impact of laws like this, Yes we have to do it to save the kids, it all about the kids. These people will make you feel bad for even thinking your personal privacy is more than import than saving the kids.

    cornchip
  • Reply 18 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,355member
    pmz said:
    Stop making laws. Any law that is written, can be EASILY changed.

    Making the law to govern a thing in the first place is all that is needed to pave the way for the reverse to occur much easier in the future.

    Stop making new laws. We haven't needed any in 200 years.
    3/5ths of some persons might disagree.

    Oh, and about funding that army and navy that keep you safe from the barbarian hordes...
    iosenthusiast
  • Reply 19 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,355member

    eightzero said:
    Easy there, counselor. The 4th amendment has nothing to say about the states. You might be referring to the 14th amendment, something that sprung out of a particularly controversial precedent involving Dred Scott that made it clear that the federal government could not interfere with certain privately held property in the several states. 

    There certainly are parts of it that are unpopular. The 13th amendment is rather unpopular in some parts of the south, depending who you ask. And of course, you won't find the word "privacy" anywhere in the text (nor a power of Congress to create an "Air Force.")

    It is entirely possible that we are about to get a lesson on how the 12th Amendment works this December too.
    I'd hang my hat on the Commerce Clause as to how they prevent individual states from passing laws banning encryption.
    Concur. Although that "dormant commerce clause" thingy is a rather unpredictable thing. It could be that the statute that is proposed in the AI article is itself unconstitutional under that doctrine.

    States might be wise to consider simply taxing encrypted cell phones. No, I am not advocating that; merely pointing out that the state's authority to tax is plenary. But of course...subject to the commerce clause as well, but perhaps the standard is different.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    My question throughout this back and forth between technology companies and law enforcement and the government intelligence community has always been if you force back doors to be added to this technology will the government officials who currently utilize their iPhones for "official government business" stop using them?  

    Let's enable back doors and see how long it takes to get your government phone hacked and sensitive information stolen.  We all know that they will blame the technology companies for their stollen information. But of course they only have themselves to blame.

    Just something I keep thinking about every time I read these articles.
    SpamSandwich
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