New York bill proposes local bans against encrypted smartphones
It’s no longer just the UK government that wants backdoors implemented into all of today’s smartphones for “safety” and terrorism-opposing reasons, as soon enough, New Yorkers may not be able to buy or lease fully encrypted handhelds in the fourth-most populous American state anymore.
If a piece of legislation currently in debate at the NY state assembly is ultimately passed, “any smartphone that is manufactured on or after January First, Two Thousand Sixteen, and sold or leased in New York, shall be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”
The vast majority of OEMs and OS producers obviously disagree with such extreme privacy-violating measures, some of the most vocal supporters of total security and data protection in the recent past being Apple, Google and BlackBerry.
But the proposed NY bill will punish those who refuse to comply with its stipulations in the sum of $2,500 for each individual smartphone that breaks the law. Hence, no one could really afford to maintain its vertical stance on this thorny issue, unless, say, iPhone prices in New York are hiked to $3,000+. Or everyone simply stops peddling mobile devices around those parts.
Come to think of it, that would probably be the best way to fight backdoor access introduction for law enforcement. If the industry’s heavyweights join forces in threatening to leave the NY and British markets, politicians may fall under tremendous public pressure, prompting them to reconsider mandatory admittance into a phone’s memory and a user’s private life.