Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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NY State Assembly bill would fine smartphone makers who don’t provide a backdoor

Assembly Bill A8093 (full text here):

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.

This is slam-head-repeatedly-against-desk stuff. Not only would this bill fine a company $2500 for each smartphone that can’t be unlocked, but it would not penalize them if the end-users ultimately find a way to encrypt the device anyway—which I imagine that people who intended to act nefariously would then go and do—so is this really stopping what law enforcement is worried about?

I’ve already explained why backdoors are dumb, so I won’t rehash that here. Ultimately, adding one makes us less safe, not more safe. If you live in New York state, this would probably be a good time to contact your state senator. Feel free to tell ’em I sent you.

Update: On Twitter, Ryan Blair points out that New York state residents can register their support or opposition for the bill here.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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