Four congressmen are proposing a bill to stop states from asking manufacturers to intentionally weaken the encryption on their smartphones to facilitate law enforcement actions. This bill was introduced on Wednesday.

Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016 (ENCRYPT Act of 2016) is the name of the bill, and it forbids states or any political subdivision of a state from “mandate or request” a manufacturer or provider of electronic devices or any service provided over the Internet (emails, text messages, etc), to redesign or alter the encryptions of a product or service.

The ENCRYPT Act of 2016 asks manufacturers to weaken the encryption on smartphones to facilitate law enforcement actions. Credit:

The representatives filing the bill are Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.).

The bill was presented to Congress few weeks later after assembly member, Jim Cooper, introduced another bill that would ban the sale of encrypted smartphones. This bill would “require a smartphone that is manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and sold in California, to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”

Neither bill has seen activity since they were introduced. The Congress has only responded with a second legislative proposal to create a commission to study the matter.

Regardless of what desition is taken, all these bills bring up the issue of encryption. Law enforcement officials say Apple and Google are putting the public at risk by not being able to intercept communications, but these oppose by saying they’re protecting individual rights to privacy and security.

Source: PC Mag