Apple has joined with companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook to declare the anti-encryption bill as unworkable. The companies published an open letter calling the Burr-Feinstein bill harmful and unworkable. Apple is declaring the proposal as ‘well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable.’ The legal analysis of Burr-Feinstein bill also declares it as unconstitutional, unenforceable and harmful to investigations.
The declaration is in a form of an open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition. Apple is a key member of the coalition, other members include companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Twitter. The letter is addressed to the two senators that proposed the bill. It describes exactly why it would be harmful to the interest of U.S. citizens and American businesses.
“We write to express our deep concerns about well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defences we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm. We believe it is critical to the safety of the nation’s, and the world’s, information technology infrastructure for us all to avoid actions that will create government-mandated security vulnerabilities in our encryption systems.” – Reform Government Surveillance coalition’s open letter against the anti-encryption bill.
The letter is also signed by three other industry coalitions. The open letter says that of the building in backdoors would ‘create opportunities for exploitation by bad actors’ and ‘push users to non-U.S. companies. This would undermine the global competitiveness of the technology industry in the United States.
The anti-encryption bill is formally referred to as the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016. The bill was published last week as a draft for discussion. The Burr-Feinstein bill still has a long way to go before it reaches the Senate floor. It seems unlikely that the bill will reach the Senate before the elections. One Senator has already vowed to filibuster against it if it does manage to get that far.
The Reform Government Surveillance coalition has defined five goals in the letter. They include limiting the authority of governments to collect user data, ensuring transparency in government demands for access to user data, and ensuring a clear legal framework with appropriate checks and balances.