California to backdoor encrypted cellphones

Assembly Member Jim Cooper introduced his bill (Assembly Bill 1681) last week which would make “A smartphone that is manufactured on or after January 1, 2017,

and sold or leased in California, shall be capable of being

decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system

provider.” presumably via a backdoor.

This bill is very similar to the bill (Assembly Bill A8093) Assemblyman Matthew Titone of New York reintroduced which would make “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.” presumably via a backdoor as well. The wording between the two bills is nearly identical.

The California and New York bill would subject the seller or lessor to a civil penalty of $2,500 if they fail to comply to this bill for each smartphone sold or leased.

Under California’s Senate Bill 275, Chapter 275, Section 22761, a smartphone is defined as cellular radio telephone or other mobile voice communications handset device with the following features:

  • Mobile operating system
  • Capability to use mobile software applications
  • Access and browse the internet
  • Send and receive email
  • Utilizes text messaging
  • Utilizes digital voice services
  • Has

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