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.