ENCRYPT Act Aims to Stop States from Banning Encryption
Lawmakers in California and New York want to ban the sale of encrypted mobile devices, but two members of Congress are fighting back. Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Blake Farenthold of Texas introduced the ENCRYPT Act this week, a federal law that would prevent states or other local governments from mandating weak handset security. Law enforcement officials want the ability to break into the phones of suspects. Devices running Android and iOS are encrypted by default, and Apple and Google refuse to decrypt them. The ENCRYPT Act is a response to bills introduced in California and New York. "Different rules in different states create a myriad of issues and will actually make it more difficult for law enforcement officials," said Rep. Farenthold. "We need a unified approach to this issue that both protects security and privacy while enabling law enforcement to keep us safe. The California and New York proposals do not solve the problem." Farenthold said backdoors could be exploited by hackers, thereby rendering the very idea of encrypting devices useless. Farenthold and Lieu hope their act will ensure the conversation regarding encryption is handled at the federal level.
Bill Would Compel Companies to Break Encryption
A new bill introduced by members of the House and Senate would force smartphone makers to crack encryption on devices any time law enforcement asks. A draft of the bill, submitted by Senators Diane Feinstein of California and Richard Burr of North Carolina, says tech firms "must provide in a timely manner responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information." Feinstein and Burr have been threatening such legislation since last year, but the notion has taken a new direction ever since the FBI asked Apple to help decrypt an iPhone and Apple refused.
California to Require Warrants for Stingrays
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law that prohibits the government from snooping on citizens' electronic communications without first obtaining a warrant. The law, called the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, forbids the government from "accessing electronic device information by means of physical interaction or electronic communication with the device." For example, police will no longer be able to use stingrays unless they get permission from a judge to do so.
Justice Department to Reveal More About Dirtboxes
Government officials at the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed provide more information about how law enforcement uses dirtboxes to collect location data on cell phones.
Apple Won't Be Forced to Hack iPhone In Drug Case
A federal judge sided with Apple in a case involving a locked iPhone in New York City today. The Justice Department sought to use the 1789 All Writs Act to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone so the agency could more fully investigate a suspect in a drug case.
House Panel Says Stingrays Need Federal Guidelines
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a bipartisan panel, this week recommended that the federal government pass rules to manage the use stingrays and other cell-site simulating devices. The panel said in a report that law enforcement agencies have varying and inconsistent rules for the use of such devices.
Not really about the encryption argument, but...