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.
Facebook to Make Its Instant Articles Compatible with Google, Apple Formats
Facebook wants content to be more readable across the web and took steps this week toward that goal by tweaking the SDK for its Instant Articles. Facebook's Instant Articles give publishers a way to streamline content for consumption on mobile devices, but Instant Articles aren't compatible with the mobile-first styles used by Google and Apple.
Google Uses Machine Learning to Tweak Sheets
Google today rolled out new features for its Sheets spreadsheet application. Most of the new features target the desktop-based version of Sheets.
Apple Debuts HomePod, Its Competitor to Google Home and Amazon Echo
Apple today announced the HomePod, a new in-home speaker similar to the Google Home and Amazon Echo. It features the Siri voice-based assistant and can act on spoken requests with a focus on music.
Congress Warns FBI to Leave Peoples' Cell Phones Alone
Members of Congress have responded to comments made by FBI Director James Comey regarding security measurers Apple and Google have added to their respective mobile operating systems. Both iOS 8 and Android 5.0 use encryption by default to protect user data from spying.
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.
Not really about the encryption argument, but...