California phone decryption bill defeated

Jeremy White, writing for the Sacramento Bee:

A national debate over smartphone encryption arrived in Sacramento on Tuesday as legislators defeated a bill penalizing companies that don’t work with courts to break into phones, siding with technology industry representatives who called the bill a dangerous affront to privacy.

The bill did not receive a vote, with members of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection worrying the measure would undermine data security and impose a logistically untenable requirement on California companies.

This is cooler heads prevailing. Just one bill among many, so this fight is ongoing.

Assembly Bill 1681 would authorize $2,500 penalties against phone manufacturers and operating system providers if they do not obey court orders to decrypt phones.

Note that 1681 was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper and is a California state bill. Not to be confused with Burr-Feinstein, which is a “discussion draft” federal bill. And then there’s Cyrus Vance’s proposal for a New York anti-encryption bill.

On the flip side, there’s Ted Lieu’s H.R. 4528, a proposed federal bill that basically says a state can’t force a manufacturer or seller to change their product to enable surveillance.