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New York Introduces Bill to Ban Sale of Encrypted Smart Phones

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Here’s Democrat New York Assemblyman Matthew Titone’s latest effort at bad lawmaking:

The proposed law marks the latest effort by lawmakers to make it easier for law enforcement to access and read encrypted data stored on smartphones.

Should the proposed bill successfully pass through New York’s state assembly and senate, Apple and Google could face fines of $2,500 per device sold in the state after January 1, 2016, if a retailer knowingly sold a smartphone that could not be unlocked or decrypted by the device manufacturer or operating-system provider.

In other words, there’s no requirement for Apple, Google, or device makers to create a backdoor. But if any manufacturer wants to sell a smartphone in the state, the device would need to comply with those requirements or else face a civil suit by the attorney general or district attorney.

Police need an easy way to get to your data because… yadda, yadda, yadda, terrorism.

Encryption is baked into every iPhone so deep that not even Apple can break it — and CEO Tim Cook has even told the White House he won’t change that. Similar encryption is coming to Android phones with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

This comes from The Loop’s Dave Mark who notes that

if passed, the bill will apply retroactively. It refers to phones manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, also known as two weeks ago. This means the mere threat of this law will have a chilling effect on iPhone sales. If someone sells an iPhone built this year, they are subject to massive fines ($2500 per phone) on the off chance that the bill passes.

And if, by some miracle, this bill passes, it will be a point of leverage for the forces that want to force a decrypting capability into all smartphones.

If you live in New York State, you’re in the market for a new phone, and you’re at all worried about this bill becoming law, then I have one small tip for you:

Buy your phone from an out-of-state vendor.

If you work in New York State, your business sells phones, and you’re at all worried about this bill becoming law, then I have one small tip for you, too:

Get out.