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California's new 'Bill 1681' Could Force Apple & Android Phone Makers to Kill End-to-End Encryption as we Know it Today

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Last week
we posted a report titled "Could Apple's iPhone 6s be the Last iPhone Model to Offer End-to-End Encryption?" In that report we noted that "First there was the UK's proposed Investigatory Powers Bill that Apple's CEO slammed and the thought of a similar bill coming to the U.S. had Tim Cook lashing out at the Government last week. It's now being reported that a bill is currently making its way through the New York state assembly that would require smartphone manufacturers to build in the ability for law enforcement to decrypt or unlock phones on demand. The bill requires that "any smartphone manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, and sold or leased in New York, shall be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider." It now appears that California, the home to all leading tech companies, could be next in line with a similar bill.


According to a new ZDNet report by Zack Wittaker, California assembly member Jim Cooper (D-9th) introduced the legislation -- bill 1681 -- which requires any smartphone manufactured "on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date" to be "capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider." (Hmm, should that read July 1, 2016?)


The bill states that "Any smartphone that couldn't be decrypted on-demand would subject a seller to a $2,500 fine." It should be noted that that's the same fine amount as listed in the New York bill.


Wittaker notes that "If the bill becomes law, there would be a near-blanket ban on nearly all iPhones and many Android devices across the state."


The bill must pass the assembly and the state senate, and be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D). For more on this, see the full ZDNet report here.


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