New York State Bill Wants to Force Apple and Google to Wreck Encryption

| Editorial

Meet Assemblyman Matthew Titone, the latest politician intent on ignoring security reality and keen to force Apple and Google to expose all of us to malicious hackers, criminals, and foreign government spies. He referred a bill to committee in the New York State Assembly last week that would require manufacturers or operating system makers to put a back door in smartphone encryption on pain of penalty of some $2,500 per device sold or leased that violate the law. Here he is with some beauty queens:

Assemblyman Matthew Titone

Assemblyman Matthew Titone with Kimberly Cantoni, Miss Staten Island, Jordan Lane Kowalski, Miss Staten Island’s Outstanding Teen,
and Alexandra Mazzucchelli, Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen.
Source: Assemblyman Matthew Titone

As noted by The Next Web, the bill itself includes a passage intended to make the case for such a bill:

The safety of the citizenry calls for a legislative solution, and a solution is easily at hand. Enacting this bill would penalize those who would sell smart- phones that are beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The fact is that, although the new software may enhance privacy for some users, it severely hampers law enforcement’s ability to aid victims. All of the evidence contained in smartphones and similar devices will be lost to law enforcement, so long as the criminals take the precaution of protecting their devices with passcodes. Of course they will do so. Simply stated, passcode-protected devices render lawful court orders meaningless and encourage criminals to act with impunity.

Of course, they also render them immune to the hacking of malicious actors, including the above-named hackers, criminals, and fore gin government.

We've written and spoken about this topic ad nauseam at The Mac Observer, but it bears repeating until the uninformed get it. A backdoor open to Apple or Google is available to everyone. This is a fact well understood by those who do encryption, if not those who seek to legislate it.

It's bad enough when this sort of nonsense is propagated at the national level. To have state legislators wanting to muck about with it is just plain scary.

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Rick Allen

Pure idiot idea for a bill.  Would love to see the huge chaos if this ever passed and no one in New York could buy and iPhone because Apple stopped selling them.  “WHAT! no iPhone in Apple 5th ave Cube store”  That politician would be insta-killing his career.


It’s pure insanity. I don’t believe corporate control is particularly desirable either. We have got to find a way to preserve our individual freedoms, this is getting ludicrous. Making a distinction between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ liberties has got to stop!


Bryan, you’re already preaching to the choir on this issue. Why not add some integrity to your cause by not using the “teen beauty queen” shot? It’s not like he wrote this legislation during that parade in 2009. He’s a lawmaker. The least you can do is use his professional headshot that is also available on the same webpage you pulled this one from.

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