French Lawmakers Back Proposal to Force Apple to Unlock iPhones


While Apple is fighting a court order forcing the company to create a backdoor to iDevices for law enforcement agencies, French lawmakers are preparing tough measures against tech companies and their executives who deny access to encrypted data in ongoing terrorist investigations, reports Bloomberg.

IPhone models

We have previously reported that French lawmakers are preparing such a bill. Well, that amendment was submitted and was included in Justice Minister’s Jean-Jacques Urvoas’s bill, which aims to bring further improvements in legal procedures and organized crime as the country fights terrorism.

The bill proposes that a company operating in France should pay a $386,000 fine and its executives be jailed for up to five years if the company – say Apple – denies access to encrypted data to law enforcement agencies. The bill also proposes that people who refuse to share information should be jailed for two years and fined $16,000 (USD).

“The rule aims to force phone makers to give investigators data and it will be up to the manufacturer to use whatever technique is necessary,” Republican lawmaker Philippe Goujon, who proposed the amendment, said in an interview. “The target is to have them cooperate. The aim is not to break the encryption — the principle is that manufacturers should cooperate.”

That’s a rather interesting move as the world watches the legal battle between Apple and the FBI. Apple has received support for its stand on customer privacy and encryption from various parties, including Silicon Valley tech giants, security experts, and the UN commissioner for human rights.

The French bill will be reviewed by the Senate as it clears the lower house, and there will be a final vote in the lower house in the upcoming months.


  • runner

    Once again, lawmakers with no understanding of technology trying to legislate it.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    If unlock means not locked to a carrier, then I’m all in. Unfortunately this will never see the light of day in Canada as the Pig 4 have the Liberals in their back pockets. The CRTC is impotent, just look at the “skinny TV” packages the Pig 4 introduced as an example of that impotence.

  • Toparm

    This is exactly what the terrorists want to happen. Create enough fear that people make really bad longterm decisions. And then when that data is compromised and gets into the wrong hands the same people will scream at the tech companies for not keeping it secure. Easy, don’t sell your phones in France, done.

  • I’ve always said privacy is dead, and as this and similar stories unfold it just becomes ever more clear.

    As I’ve stated in previous posts, if law makers and law enforcement are gong to run with this, it needs to go both ways.
    Next time an officer is caught soliciting a minor for sex on a chat service, or assaulting an unarmed man for filming him should have his phone information publicly available as well for users to view. Laws broken on either citizen or enforcement need to work both ways, privacy barriers broken evenly. Fair is fair. However fair doesn’t work well in this world.