What started as a crime has now turned into a national debate. The massacre that happened December, 2015, at the Inland Regional Center in California, was the start of the FBI vs. Apple Inc. debate. The FBI acquired an iPhone from one of the killers, and was pressuring Apple Inc. to modify their iOS software and allow for the FBI to gain access to the device. This need for access to the devices lead to a Supreme Court lawsuit, and has started a national debate over encryption.
There is a new bill that the Senate is trying to pass “Compliance with Court Orders Act 2016” (114th Congress, 2016). If this bill is passed, what will become of encryption standards? There are many concerns with this piece of legislation. If this legislation is passed it will not have good implications. Companies that abide by the law will follow this new bill, but the criminals, terrorist, or hackers will not. These groups will abuse this bill to their advantage. Also this bill does not apply to a particular venue i.e. communication companies like Apple Inc, WhatsApp, Viber. These companies are in the site of everyone’s minds because Apple Inc. is the highlight company for the creation of this potential bill, but this will apply to every company that uses encryption. From operating systems (OS), companies that create encryption software, and companies that deploy encryption, will be subject to weaken standards or using software that has a backdoor.
The Federal Government will not follow this bill. They will create another bill that allows the use of unfettered encryption to remain on government information systems. This bill will also create “new criminals” because some companies will not comply with this bill because of the increased security vulnerabilities that will be created by the government.
If this was a decision that would not have heavy security impacts on companies, then the bill would not be an issue. This bill is being attacked at every angle. Many say that this bill was created by people that do not understand encryption nor the implications that this bill will have on industries (Peterson, 2016). Bob Lord, Yahoo’s Chief Security Officer, talks about why Yahoo is looking into encryption that even Yahoo cannot decrypt. (Twitter, 2016).