New York Bill Threatens to Change Smartphone Encryption Debate Narrative

A new bill heading for the New York state assembly threatens to change the course of the ongoing debate over smartphone encryption, as it would require every smartphone manufacturer to add a backdoor to devices (via The Next Web).


You may recall that Apple and other Silicon Valley companies are engaged with government officials in an ongoing debate over the use of encryption. Since iOS 7, all iPhones have been encrypted by default like the majority of Android devices, which has prompted lawmakers to call on tech companies to create a backdoor to their devices for the sake of national security.

Apple has so far resisted such requests. Tim Cook takes every opportunity to emphasize the importance of customer privacy and, at a recent tech summit organized by the White House, voiced his opinion again, saying that the White House should say, “no backdoors.”

His argument is that if Apple provides a backdoor to the good guys, the same door will also be accessible by the bad guys.

The New York bill penned by Matt Titone, on the other hand, requires every “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.”

Furthermore, if the manufacturer fails to comply with the bill, it would face a $2,500 fine for every single non-compliant device. His argument is that previously mentioned by others: national security.