'Secure Data Act' would block US from demanding backdoors in Apple's iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone
A new bill being proposed in U.S. Congress would theoretically ban any attempt at imposing legal backdoors into devices like Apple's iPhone.

A National Security Agency data center.
A National Security Agency data center.


The Secure Data Act would block courts and federal agencies from issuing orders to "compel a manufacturer, developer, or seller of covered products to design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow the surveillance of any user of such product or service, or to allow the physical search of such product, by an agency."

Backing the legislation are three Democrats -- Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler, and Ted Lieu -- as well as three Republicans, Thomas Massie, Ted Poe, and Matt Gaetz.

Wiretaps would still be allowed, as defined by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, but even then fully encrypted messaging platforms like iMessage and Signal would be left intact.

Some U.S. government officials, like FBI director Christopher Wray, have repeatedly called for a way to bypass the encryption on devices and messaging platforms when a warrant or national security letter is in hand. The argument is that communication is increasingly "going dark" for law enforcement and spy agencies, giving terrorists and other criminals a way to conspire out of sight.

Activist groups, Apple, and many other tech companies have argued that the government doesn't have an inherent right to intercept all communications, and/or that there's no such thing as a safe backdoor. Apple especially has said that any deliberate vulnerability would likely be discovered and exploited by malicious entities, whether criminal hackers or governments running mass surveillance.

The matter came to the forefront in a battle with the FBI and U.S. Justice Department over the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The government insisted that Apple write software to allow access, but Apple refused, claiming it couldn't be compelled to do so and would have to fundamentally weaken iOS regardless.

The court dispute ended suddenly when the government revealed it had managed to break into Farook's phone with third-party help. Recently, a report from the Office of the Inspector General concluded that the FBI hadn't exhausted all its options before taking legal action against Apple.

The Secure Data Act could have little impact on searches conducted via physical access. Apple's upcoming iOS 11.4 update, however, may shorten the timeframe in which such searches will work.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    The FBI, local police and others are not going to take this quietly.

    I’m all for it, BTW.  Just because “I have nothing to hide” and “I am not a criminal” doesn’t mean I also want anybody being able to rifle through my stuff.  Privacy is still a thing, even for law abiding citizens who likely wouldn’t be the target of an investigation.
    edited May 11 bloggerblogsuperklotonlongpathrazorpitboxcatcherllamabaconstangjbdragoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,719member
    It's disingenuous anyway to want this for the reasons they say. Anyone who wants to thwart the law, will find a way even if there's "backdoor" access to a device. Only a law abiding citizen wouldn't use such tactics and therefor remain the only one vulnerable to spying by the government and any other nefarious character.
    blastdoorelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,998member
    The FBI, local police and others are not going to take this quietly.

    I’m all for it, BTW.  Just because “I have nothing to hide” and “I am not a criminal” doesn’t mean I also want anybody being able to rifle through my stuff.  Privacy is still a thing, even for law abiding citizens who likely wouldn’t be the target of an investigation.
    Aw, com'on...what do you have to hide, hunh?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,163member
    Police, like everyone else, have gotten lazy. If they can’t do an investigation sitting in front of a computer, it’s too much trouble. Good old fashioned shoe leather police work is fading away—too much effort.  
    jbdragoncornchip
  • Reply 5 of 13
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,816member
    Sounds like a good bill.

    If it passes Congress (big If), I predict it will be signed. 

    I also predict that within a few years, it will be amended. 

    The pendulum on this is probably going to swing back and forth for a while before it reaches a steady state. 
    sprint3gissuescornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    roakeroake Posts: 550member
    The FBI, local police and others are not going to take this quietly.

    I’m all for it, BTW.  Just because “I have nothing to hide” and “I am not a criminal” doesn’t mean I also want anybody being able to rifle through my stuff.  Privacy is still a thing, even for law abiding citizens who likely wouldn’t be the target of an investigation.
    I have plenty to hide from the government: my entire private life.  It’s none of their damned business.
    razorpitSpamSandwichllamajbdragoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,606member
    Police, like everyone else, have gotten lazy. If they can’t do an investigation sitting in front of a computer, it’s too much trouble. Good old fashioned shoe leather police work is fading away—too much effort.  
    Oh stop it! Police work today is much more advanced than "shoe leather". For example they recently arrested an alleged serial killer/rapist from a 30 year old cold case in California using a DNA database. With surveillance cameras and social media they have a lot more tools at their disposal than the old fashion Dick Tracy note pad.
    boxcatcherjbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,266member
    roake said:
    The FBI, local police and others are not going to take this quietly.

    I’m all for it, BTW.  Just because “I have nothing to hide” and “I am not a criminal” doesn’t mean I also want anybody being able to rifle through my stuff.  Privacy is still a thing, even for law abiding citizens who likely wouldn’t be the target of an investigation.
    I have plenty to hide from the government: my entire private life.  It’s none of their damned business.
    And it’s not just that. Poorly secured private information isn’t just at risk from confiscation by the government, it’s more vulnerable to hackers.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,606member
    roake said:
    I have plenty to hide from the government: my entire private life.  It’s none of their damned business.
    Yet you routinely divulge information about your private life here in the AI forums.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    stevehsteveh Posts: 474member
    volcan said:
    roake said:
    I have plenty to hide from the government: my entire private life.  It’s none of their damned business.
    Yet you routinely divulge information about your private life here in the AI forums.
    But the information divulged is on his terms, no one else's. Things like financial, medical, etc etc etc information isn't part of that information, but it certainly would be if governments were able to come in the back door.
    jbdragoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    volcan said:
    Police, like everyone else, have gotten lazy. If they can’t do an investigation sitting in front of a computer, it’s too much trouble. Good old fashioned shoe leather police work is fading away—too much effort.  
    Oh stop it! Police work today is much more advanced than "shoe leather". For example they recently arrested an alleged serial killer/rapist from a 30 year old cold case in California using a DNA database. With surveillance cameras and social media they have a lot more tools at their disposal than the old fashion Dick Tracy note pad.
    I’m surprised this case is not talked about more. The legal ramifications are quite chilling. Using familial DNA matching disproportionately affects minorities and the accuracy of information is suspect. Additionally going through civil DNA databases without a court order seems like a violation of the 4th amendment. Unfortunately our laws have not caught up with our technology.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/27/17290288/golden-state-killer-joseph-james-deangelo-dna-profile-match
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 13
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,030member
    blastdoor said:
    Sounds like a good bill.

    If it passes Congress (big If), I predict it will be signed. 

    I also predict that within a few years, it will be amended. 

    The pendulum on this is probably going to swing back and forth for a while before it reaches a steady state. 
    I totally disagree -- if congress passes it, I seriously doubt Trump will sign it.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 13
    roakeroake Posts: 550member
    volcan said:
    roake said:
    I have plenty to hide from the government: my entire private life.  It’s none of their damned business.
    Yet you routinely divulge information about your private life here in the AI forums.
    Damned right I do, but I divulge what I want divulged; I’m making the choice on information I release, not the government.
    edited May 11 watto_cobra
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