Californian Democrat, Rep Ted Lieu and New York’s Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold introduced a House bill to prevent the local or the state governments from forcing backdoors on Smartphones. The new proposal starkly opposes the government’s policy proposed few weeks ago allowing installation of the OEM’s to create backdoors facilitating a criminal investigation.
These actions by the representatives of the two states are not a coincidence. Both the states, California and New York weeks ago proposed state legislation legally forcing the device producers and service providers to allow law access to the Smartphone’s encrypted systems as and when needed. In case the state bills are accepted, the existing Android and iPhones will require substantial redesigning especially for these two states.
Proposed Federal bill requires acceptance from both the houses
The primary problem is that if the proposed state bills are passed, it will also affect the devices and services in the entire US. It will be practically a waste of time to design systems specific just for one or two states. The federal Bill from Farenthold and Lieu will have to pass both the House of Senate and Representatives. Even after that, it will come into effect only after the President has signed it.
Both the representatives are trying hard to ensure that the bill is passed so that the state laws are not implemented. According to Lieu, when the legislator of New York State introduced the bill, he was concerned a bit, as a Republican in Democratic legislature introduced it. However, he said when a similar bill was introduced by a Democratic legislature his concern grew since Democrats control the legislature; the bill could be passed easily.
Lieu a graduate in Computer Science and also a former Californian state senator said that although he respected his colleagues enforcing the law with the interest to solve crimes, he feels that the state proposals are technologically stupid. According to him, permitting access to the encrypted system will endanger the entire security and weaken the device.