Smartphone users in California take notice: a new CA State Assembly bill would ban default encryption features on all smartphones. Assembly Bill 1681, introduced in January by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, would require any smartphone sold in California “to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” This is perhaps even more drastic than the legal precedent at stake in Apple’s ongoing showdown with the Justice Department, in which the government is trying to force a private company to write code undermining key security features in specific cases.
Both Apple and Google currently encrypt smartphones running their iOS and Android operating systems by default. A.B. 1681 would undo this default, penalizing manufacturers and providers of operating systems $2,500 per device that cannot be decrypted at the time of sale.