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Cybersecurity & Standards, Government Surveillance, Privacy & Data

Yet another bill seeks to weaken encryption-by-default on smartphones

Ars Technica:

A second state lawmaker has now introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale of smartphones with unbreakable encryption. Except this time, despite very similar language to a pending New York bill, the stated rationale is to fight human trafficking, rather than terrorism.

Specifically, California Assemblymember Jim Cooper’s (D-Elk Grove) new bill, which was introduced Wednesday, would “require a smartphone that is manufactured on or after January 1, 2017, and sold in California, to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”

“Human trafficking is obviously a major social issue that we need to address,” Gautam Hans, an attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Ars by e-mail.

“However, I don’t think this is the best way to solve that issue. Weakening encryption will do a great deal of harm to the security of the Internet, and it’s not clear that it helps with the law enforcement goals. Encryption proposals that include backdoors are fundamentally insecure and would create vulnerabilities that unauthorized actors could exploit.”

Full article here.