Apple and Google take aim at controversial anti-encryption bill

Tech companies want to protect encryption. Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Tech companies want to protect encryption. Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple and Google have leant their names to an open letter taking aim at a controversial new anti-encryption bill, which demands that tech companies make their devices breakable at will.

“We write to express our deep concerns about well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm,” the letter opens.

In addition to Apple and Google, other tech giants which signed the missive include Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, and more.

The letter goes over the familiar talking points about wilfully compromising security, such as making it vulnerable to bad actors as well as good ones, but also extrapolates the point to argue that forcing U.S. companies to weaken their own encryption will have a negative impact on the economy by pushing users toward non-U.S. tech companies.

“We support making sure that law enforcement has the legal authorities, resources, and training it needs to solve crime, prevent terrorism, and protect the public,” the letter concludes. “However, those things must be carefully balanced to preserve our customers’ security and digital information. We are ready and willing to engage in dialogue about how to strike that balance, but remain concerned about efforts to prioritize one type of security over all others in a way that leads to unintended, negative consequences for the safety of our networks and our customers.”

Called the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, the recently drafted anti-encryption bill seeks to stop companies refusing to help organizations like the FBI, provided that proper court orders are given. While it doesn’t have the backing of the White House, it is being proposed by senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, who are respectively the Republican chair and top Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

You can read the entire open letter here. While the likes of Apple and Google have already made their stance on encryption known, hopefully this will prove to be a positive step forward.

Via: TechCrunch