Congressman Introduces Bill Barring Government from Buying Apple Devices

| Editorial

Meet Congressman David Jolly (R-FL), the latest elected representative keen to demonstrate his lack of understanding on encryption and security. Mr. Jolly announced Thursday that he introduced a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives titled "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act."

Representative David Jolly (R-FL)

Congressman David Jolly (R-FL)

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,” Mr. Jolly said in a statement. He added:

This is an order to cooperate in preventing the deletion of evidence on a single phone of a terrorist murderer who pledged allegiance to ISIS – nothing more. According to the FBI Director, this phone likely contains communications preceding the terrorist attack, including potential calls and messages with fellow terrorists with whom he coordinated. It also would allow law enforcement visibility into the killer’s activity for a period of 18 minutes following the attack that the FBI is currently unable to piece together. Who did the terrorist talk to? Who did he message with? Did he go to a safe house? Is there information on the phone that might prevent a future attack on U.S. soil? Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, every citizen and every company was willing to do whatever it took to side with law enforcement and defeat terror. It’s time Apple shows that same conviction to further protect our nation today.

In other words, Mr. Jolly can't see past this one act of terrorism, and doesn't understand that what the FBI has asked for will effect everyone, everywhere far beyond the scope of this case. That if Apple were to create the tools the FBI has demanded, that it will inevitably become a backdoor available to everyone.

That if the government can demand these tools be created once, it can demand it again and again. That if the U.S. opens this back door, every authoritarian regime and tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood will swiftly demand the same.

That if the FBI wins this, all of us on can kiss privacy and security on our smartphones goodbye, while criminals, terrorists, and despots remain safe and secure with third party encrypted platforms denied to us.

That's a long list of things Mr. Jolly doesn't understand, but the most ironic aspect of this bill is that Mr. Jolly would deny our own government devices they themselves need to keep their mobile data safe from the bad guys.

Hopefully Mr. Jolly takes the time to educate himself on the bigger picture. It's just too bad he already introduced this bill.

[Update: The title of this article originally identified Congressman David Jolly as a Senator. The title has been corrected accordingly. - Editor]

Comments

Johnny Getz

I’m sorry you represent my state since you are so uninformed.  Please wake up and stop doing stupid things.  This state needs enough help without our “leaders” acting like fools.

iVoid

Yes, please require government employees to use less secure phones.

That’s a good idea.

Nothing bad could ever happen with government data if it were to fall into the wrong hands.

Right?

 

Johnny Getz

Yes.  Just ask Hillary about security.

dswoodley

Another argument for “do as we say, not as we do”.  Why should only the government get encryption?

Lee Dronick

  Yes.  Just ask Hillary about security.

Her email server wasn’t hacked, the FBI’s was

Robert Perry

Ok, although I totally disagree congressman Holly’s position, I do find it funny that that you accuse him of demonstrating a lack of understanding of an issue and later suggest that he should educate himself, yet in your headline you state that a Senator introduced the bill and in the article you state it was introduced in the House of Representatives.  Lol

Bryan Chaffin

Hi Robert, and thanks for the note. I corrected my mistake and the title now reflects the Congressman’s actual title.

FCompton

So far, I have not seen anyone ask the question that immediately popped into my head: if the FBI gets its way, will the Brits, the French, the Germans…the Chinese, the Russians, all demand to have access to it as well?

Lee Dronick

FCompton, and others, see this story:

  France is apparently studying ways to convince Apple, Google and other tech companies to comply with similar orders. One proposal includes fines of up to €1 million ($1.08 million) per incident each time one of these companies refuses to aide in an investigation.

http://news.yahoo.com/france-wants-fine-apple-1m-time-refuses-decrypt-182953150.html

skipaq

If you read Mr. Jolly’s statement, it is clear that he doesn’t know much about this issue. Perhaps his inbox will enlighten him, if he knows how to use email that is.

@Lee The Clinton server is a big question mark right now. Everyone believes setting up the thing was wrong and dangerous. Most of the security experts say that anything on that server was an easy target for being stolen. Mrs. Clinton has not been accurate in her responses to questions about that server. Her aid has now begun to spill whatever he was directed to do in setting the thing up. If this congressman is stupid about an area not his line of work, Mrs. Clinton showed complete incompetence and lack of security precaution in her line of work. Putting the two bumbling things side by side; the home brew server wears the dunce hat.

sed

How is this not a bill of attainder?  Those are expressly forbidden by the Constitution.  So the Congressman not only doesn’t understand security, but he doesn’t understand the Constitution, either.

BTW, I wouldn’t expect Mrs. Clinton to know about setting up servers and it’s fairly clear that most politicians don’t understand IT security, either.

I’d also like to know how Apple is connected to the crime, which is required by All Writs (as I understand it).  That’s like connecting the gun manufacturers to it.  There is also the problem that while Apple may be considered a person under the law, “Apple, Inc.” won’t be doing this.  Apple employees will, who likely have an even more remote connection to the crime.  It’s the Apple employees who are being coerced to cooperate.

Jamie

Yes, the level of ignorance in our government being revealed in this case - not just surrounding technology, but of our law itself - is breathtaking. It is absolutely preposterous for a governing body that ratified Citizen’s United, created for-profit charter schools, and created a candidate like Trump to accuse any other institution of worshipping profit, and the blindness to the future ramifications for all in society is just staggering. It’s a joke, and a bad one. #notmydemocracy

skipaq

@sed I wouldn’t expect her to know about setting up a server or securing it. But as Secretary of State she had to know about proper handling of official government communications. If she didn’t then the job was over her qualifications. Like I said before this server is a big question right now. No matter how it comes out it still wins the dunce award.

Lee Dronick

The fact remains that Hillary’s server was not hacked, but the ones run by professionals were.

skipaq

@Lee You say it is a fact that her server was not hacked. Can you point me to the proof of that statement. I am not asking for someone’s claims that it was not hacked. Who has searched the hard drives for evidence of a breached? Where was that evidence presented?

Lee Dronick

That is a two way street skipaq

skipaq

You are right, but I am not saying that it was hacked. I certainly can’t say that it wasn’t hacked though I hope it wasn’t. If your point is simply that home brew servers are more secure than government servers, I will respectfully disagree.

BruceL

This is a sad comment on the quality of our elected officials and yet another argument for min-anarchy, anarchy which allows for minimal government. I think we can have a good idea of which side he was cheering for when he read 1984. I would like to see him introduce a bill barring our government from bombing innocent civilians which would save many lives instead of flying his let me prove that I don’t mind introducing legislation that is not well thought out flag. He is obviously challenged.

Lee Dronick

Of course hackers might not have known she had her own server which is a line of defense of its own.

Anyway, AAPL is up and that may be in part due to this iPhone v FBI controversy.

bbh

Another absolute embarrassment from my state of Floida. What an idiot. Hre should read Reagan’s comment on this sort of thing,

“And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course [toward totalitarianism].“Ronald Reagan, 1964

ibuck

Uninformed (or willfully ignorant) and apathetic citizens lead to uninformed, willfully ignorant elected representatives.

In the past, voters have said they voted for someone merely because they felt they could sit & share a beer with a specific candidate. Currently, it seems voters like candidates who are the better smart-asses, as we are seeing in some debates. And many voters say they base their decisions on what candidates have said (like empty slogans) without any consideration of what that candidate has accomplished. Or if they have even done any work in a similar environment.

When organizations hire, they usually want a candidate who can demonstrate, by knowledge and experience, that they have trained for and have successfully done this type of work before, and can do it successfully again. Is the presidency, or even Congress, the entry level for politics? Do we want someone politically untrained and inexperienced to try their luck at the most powerful office on earth? In a give-and-take job that’s so trying that those who hold it visibly age faster than normal over just a few years?

From Congress, we have much evidence that fools often can really muck things up, and fail to even uphold their oath of office. And then they get re-elected. Politicians are often depicted as the ones who are damaging this country, but who elected them? Half (sometimes more) of US eligible voters don’t even bother to vote—even in presidential elections. Which means that politicians frequently get elected by about 25% of the eligible voters—and then act like the entire populace is backing every idea they have.

It seems that many Americans spend more time evaluating which phone, tablet, or other device they will buy (and own for a couple years) than they spend evaluating the experience and qualifications of candidates who will “serve” for 2, 4 or 6 years. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Terrin

Lots of people seem to miss one of the main problems with the FBI’s demand. Namely, the government should not be allowed to force a private party to do an act it doesn’t want to perform.

Apple doesn’t have any relation to the terrorist incident. So, the scope of its responsibilities should stop at whatever assistance to the government it elects to provide, even if that is no assistance at all.

That is a common tenant of our law. As so called free people, we are not required to help anybody we don’t want to help. It is perfectly legal to see a crime happen, and not report it. It is perfectly legal to see somebody injured and not help.

Apple should have no obligation at all to help the government. Apple has good reasons for not wanting to do as the government demands, but even if it didn’t have good reasons [e.g. protecting privacy], it shouldn’t be required to cooperate.

That is how freedom works.

bbh

Unfortunately… the halls of congress (little “c” on purpose) are full of morons like this guy. While I am not in his district, I am a Floridian. I called his main office and vehemently objected to his asinine bill.

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