Congressman Proposes Law Banning Government From Purchasing Apple Devices

from the Florida-Man:-Congression-Edition dept

Global terrorism has accomplished one thing: the continual generation of stupid legislation. Add some panicked law enforcement voices to the mix and some lawmaker is going to feel compelled to throw a Kneejerk Convention.

Legislators on both coasts are pushing a ban on the sale of encrypted phones. And now this, as reported by Zack Whittaker of ZDNet.

Republican lawmaker Rep. David Jolly (R-FL, 13th) has introduced a bill that would ban Apple products across government.

Jolly said the legislative effort was in protest of the company's refusal to help federal agents unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
Jolly, it must be said, is the paragon of efficient stupidity.
The bill, dubbed the "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act," or HR 4663, is just 11 lines long.
Here's the official wording.
No agency or other entity within the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Federal Government may purchase any product manufactured by, licensed by, or otherwise sold under the trademark of Apple Inc. of 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California (hereafter referred to “Apple”) until a court of Federal jurisdiction certifies that Apple has provided the Federal Government with the technical support necessary to access encrypted information sought by a judicial warrant that may be materially relevant to the investigation of commission of terrorism.
This would be a boon for Apple's competitors, except for the fact that they've all backed Apple in its fight against the FBI. Is Rep. Jolly going to be happy that the lesser of two evils has supplanted Apple's government marketshare, or will he be amending this to encompass the companies who have shown support for Apple's material support for terrorism refusal to assist the FBI in setting a dangerous precedent?

I sincerely hope he does go that route. Because if he does, government agencies will not only be locked out (irony!) of purchasing Apple devices, but they won't be able to use Android or Microsoft devices either.

Agencies might have to move towards a more paperful office, what with a variety of tech companies expressing their support for Apple. Government employees will also find themselves without an internet browser option -- which will probably be fine as Reddit, Twitter and Facebook would all be on Jolly's "enemies of the state" list. Perhaps the elimination of unproductive web surfing will make up for efficiency loss resulting from the lack of an email or cloud storage options.

But perhaps the most hilarious thing about Jolly's dumbass proposal is his statement in support of it.
“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,” Jolly said.
While we've often noted the FBI's over-zealousness when it comes to terrorism investigations, we honestly had no idea it had gotten this far out of hand. Apparently, the FBI has already killed 14 Americans during its investigation of the San Bernardino shooting. How many more will it have to kill before this investigation is concluded? If Apple's swift compliance can prevent the FBI from killing more people, perhaps it's time to reconsider its stance.

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Filed Under: congress, david jolly, doj, encryption, fbi
Companies: apple


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 11:51am

    I know it isn't legally blackmail, but this sure feels like blackmail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      Actually, I wonder what percentage of Apple's sales are to the US Government? Would Apple actually notice if this were to go into effect?

      Conversely, it would be interesting to watch the reaction if Apple were to suddenly start refusing to sell to the US Government. "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone...." and all that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AricTheRed (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 11:57am

    I nominate Jolly for funniest comment of the week!

    "“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,”David Jolly..."

    Definitely gets my vote for funniest. Saddest, but funniest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:54pm

      Re: I nominate Jolly for funniest comment of the week!

      Taxpayers should not be shouldering the full employment bill for morons like Jolly who are unfit to do their job and don't understand what they were sworn to uphold.

      At any rate, "subsidize" and "buy from" are two different things. If anything, I'd expect the government to get a discount for buying Apple phones, meaning that it's actually Apple subsidizing the government anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 6:21pm

      Re: I nominate Jolly for funniest comment of the week!

      Replace company with country, and it becomes a declaration against Saudi Arabia.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 11:58am

    I think the old adage applies...

    If pro is the opposite of con, then the opposite of progress is...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:05pm

    From the talented minds at JollyPhone, introducing the new Freedom Phone!* ** ***

    * Freedom Phone is not taken internally.
    ** Freedom Phone is not intended for non-cooperative users.
    *** Freedom Phone may not protect your freedom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:08pm

    "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act"

    Perhaps someone should letter Rep. Jolly know that plenty of us taxpayers support Apple in this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re: "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act"

      What are you, some form of anarchist trying to usurp the power of politicians? :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:31pm

      Re: "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act"

      I love how it's supporting "the taxpayers" when it's pushing a politician's personal agenda, but when the actual taxpayers want something changed (like marijuana) they can't be arsed to listen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:17pm

    " until a court of Federal jurisdiction certifies that Apple has provided the Federal Government with the technical support necessary to access encrypted information sought by a judicial warrant that may be materially relevant to the investigation of commission of terrorism."

    They don't specify which investigation, so I guess Apple can just grab some old warrant?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sigalrm (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:21pm

    Finally - clear, concise legislation

    As inane as this piece of legislation is, it's actually somewhat refreshing to see a proposed law that's clear and to the point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 3:28pm

      Re: Finally - clear, concise legislation

      Unfortunately, it's also full of loopholes; not quite as bad as his summary, but if this were legally binding, Apple wouldn't have to do much beyond pointing to a prior legal case where Apple assisted the government in a terror-related investigation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nigel, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:22pm

    Fair enough. They can use soup cans and string.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:24pm

    “Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,”
    They just want everyone to know just how serious they are about this investigation: co-operate, "or else"!
    Or perhaps they've used the CIA's "interrigation" techniques (which, I've heard, sometimes had this effect too)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:34pm

    Citizen Proposes Law Banning Corporations From Purchasing Idiotic Congressmen

    "You'd get more for your money if you bought a goddamn bowl of dog food," fumes angry New Mexico resident.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      You are being watched (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      I'd rather a corporation buy the dumbass congressman rather than the "smart" congressman. At least we know when the dumbass is being a dumbass (which happens to be every time he/she opens their mouth).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:39pm

    The terror investigation left 14 Americans dead on American soil?

    Do we taxpayers subsidize the organization responsible for that terror investigation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Effects

    a.) I thought I heard the other day that they were moving from BlackBerry to Apple because BlackBerry no longer had encryption.

    b.) I would be quit happy with no one in the government having a cellphone, first, think of all the money we would save and second, think how much less efficient they will be in their quest to strip citizens of their assets.

    c.) I do believe we should infect this legislator with the dormant cyber pathogen and then call the CDC for a cure, but tell them no hurry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:41pm

      Re: Effects

      Funny but true; blackberry was officially removed from the Navy network just this week. And, replaced by; you guessed it, Apple.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JBDragon, 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re: Effects

        That's because the truth is, Blackberry has Back Doors!!! In fact Blackberry have given backdoor access to a number of countries so that the phones wouldn't be banned.

        Blackberry is also on the wrong side in Apple's case. They're on Governments side. I sure wouldn't trust any Blackberry phone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:41pm

    They attempt to slit their own throats. If passed, it would be exceedingly easy to intercept, record, and subsequently expose their never-ending corruption. Kudos!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      If passed, it would be exceedingly easy to intercept, record, and subsequently expose their never-ending corruption.


      Actually, if you start from the premise that it's already exceedingly easy for TLA's to intercept, record, and subsequently expose the never-ending corruption of our elected political heroes, it explains a great many things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 5 Mar 2016 @ 12:44am

      Re:

      They attempt to slit their own throats. If passed, it would be exceedingly easy to intercept, record, and subsequently expose their never-ending corruption.

      So did Snowden, but the government has the media in its pocket, so nobody cares. Whenever the topic is discussed, half the comment section is full of people calling Snowden a traitor and a coward who should return and stand trial (with the "Espionage Act" accusation he would not be allowed to defend his actions, so there would not be much of a trial). Strangely, nobody cares calling the officials dismantling the Constitution traitors and demands that they stand trial for their crimes. They remain in office.

      That's how public opinion fueled via government-controlled mass media works. Of course, unwelcome journalists are not exactly thrown in jail. They just get put on no-flight lists and get constant harrassment at every opportunity. If they don't take a hint eventually, their superiors will, and the "free market" will do the rest.

      So no, the government does not even fear the discovery of their crimes and corruption any more. They are the ones shaping the stories from it. People like Obama get to call torturers and murderers heroes and patriots and give them a free pass, and everybody licks it up and falls in line.

      Why fear exposure?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2016 @ 4:15am

        Re: Re:

        There's a big difference in nature between the types of activities Snowden exposed, and other extracurricular activities which the snooty ones try to sweep under the rug in addition to those. They may try to pass off unfettered surveillance & "enhanced interrogation techniques" as "patriotism", but the same cannot be said about sodomizing one's 12 year old daughter cause they ran out of coke (etc.).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dpaus (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 12:42pm

    With Apple, Google and Microsoft products out of the running (and presumably Blackberry as well, since they've long supported encryption), the U.S. government would have to buy their cellphones from some sketchy Chinese manufacturers. Good thinking, dorkhead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josh (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:00pm

    Google pays Apple.

    This means that government will not be able to buy android devices either. If they buy andorids, they are supporting apple, thus supporting terrorism.

    They are going to be stuck using Blackberries.

    Good idea?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JBDragon, 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:23am

      Re: Google pays Apple.

      Hell with Android and it's OPEN system, you can install any number of 3rd party encription software that's completly out of this Government control with No back doors and not a single thing the Government could ever do.

      Really if anything, Android is the terrorists phone to get. Would you as a Terrorists really trust the Encryption of a American company? So Cheap, made by many company's and open to install anything you like!!!

      The iPhone is Encryption for the masses to lazy to really worry about it themselves. Which makes it perfect to spy on the masses. Won't stop any Terrorists, but that's not the point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:44pm

    Florida being Florida

    Considering which state he is from no wonder he wrote such a dumb law and statement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:47pm

    Wonderful idea, I couldn't agree more:

    Taxpayers should not subsidizing organizations that promote terror and cause the death of American citizens.

    For example, the ATF
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandal)
    and the DEA
    (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/report-dea-agents-had-sex-parties-with-prost itutes-hired-by-drug-cartels/2015/03/26/adb2d53e-d3bd-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:49pm

    But...

    If they are purchasing based on lowest bids, then they don't buy Apple anyway... they use Samsung.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JBDragon, 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:26am

      Re: But...

      Samesung high end phones are just as costly as a iPhone or more so!!! Unless you want to talk about their low end to mid range line. There's all kinds of Android phones in that price area. All of them easily able to install and number of 3rd party Encryption software on with no back doors and not a thing the U.S. Government could ever do to stop it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 1:59pm

    It's just spin...

    Representative Jolly is just trying to package it for the Law Enforcement Establishment to endorse. In private, his response is more sympathetic:

    "If government isn't willing to support strongly encrypted devices for the general public, then the government shouldn't be using them either."


    - overheard by my second cousin's hair stylist. So you KNOW it is reliable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:01pm

    I wonder how this legislation would affect the NSA in its own attempts to breach Apple security. I mean, if they also are forbidden to buy examples of the target hardware...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:01pm

    Tune in next week

    when David Jolly will be waterboarding an uncooperative iPhone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:31pm

    Someone needs to go look up the definition of "Bill of Attainder" then go read Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:34pm

    A question that no one seems to be asking is 'why did San Bernardino, a city in bankruptcy, pay for iPhones for essentially all of their employees?'

    That's an expensive perk, one that most private employers don't provide. (It is often taxable, unless the employee works remotely or is frequently on call.)

    I'm pretty sure that the answer is that employees really like the perk. They aren't going to give it up willingly. This proposal is going to get zero support from anyone that gets a sweet perk they don't want examined too closely. There will probably be huge blow-back in the form of examining every perk given to Jolly's staff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:34pm

    Isn't this a bill of Attainder?

    Isn't this a bill of Attainder?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 2:49pm

    "Global terrorism has accomplished one thing: the continual generation of stupid legislation"

    Isn't that the goal?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    KevinP (profile), 4 Mar 2016 @ 4:30pm

    Congress and not buying Apple products

    Guess they want to have devices easier to crack open and have all their personal information out there

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2016 @ 7:05pm

    As long as that prohibition includes all government employees phones, not just phones provided to their employees by the government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2016 @ 10:46am

    "Congressman Proposes Law Banning Government From Purchasing Apple Devices"

    Agreed, Apple devices are too insecure to be trusted to protect all that top secret information. In the name of national security they should be banned until their security is fixed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2016 @ 6:29pm

    Sad, oh so sad that our politicians act like teens. Worse still is their even lower mentality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 7 Mar 2016 @ 11:40am

    Some other thoughts

    First, if the government buys non-encrypted phones, won't this make them a target for thieves? How many times have we read stories about how employees have taken company secrets home on their devices only to have the devices stolen? It's bad enough when credit card and SSN's get stolen, but what about government secrets? Or does his law imply that there are no government secrets on people's phones?

    Second, can we have a moment of silence for the 14 American people that the FBI's investigation left dead? (I suppose it's important to mention that Americans were killed, not those pesky Canadians, Mexicans, Europeans or others.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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