Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Government Encryption Privacy Security United States News Apple Your Rights Online

New Legislation Would Ban US Government From Purchasing Apple Products (arstechnica.com) 296

HughPickens.com writes: Cyrus Farivar reports at ArsTechnica that Congressman David Jolly has introduced the "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act," a bill that would forbid federal agencies from purchasing Apple products until the company cooperates with the federal court order to assist the unlocking of a seized iPhone 5C associated with the San Bernardino terrorist attack. "Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil," said Jolly, who announced in 2015 that he's running for Senate, joining the crowded GOP primary field to replace Sen. Marco Rubio. "Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, every citizen and every company was willing to do whatever it took to side with law enforcement and defeat terror. It's time Apple shows that same conviction to further protect our nation today." Jolly's bill echoes a call from Donald Trump last month to boycott Apple until it agrees to assist the FBI. Not to fear, GovTrack gives Jolly's bill a 1% chance of being enacted.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Legislation Would Ban US Government From Purchasing Apple Products

Comments Filter:
  • I have an ever better reason the Government should be banned from buying Apple (or Microsoft): It ain't Open. You are "buying" a walled garden full of security holes and endless paid upgrades. The Government should only be purchasing truly Open systems.
    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:29PM (#51640433)

      I'm all for open systems, but there's a slight problem here: this is mainly about smartphones, not PCs, and there aren't exactly a lot of open options here.

      Of course, you would think that with the size of the US Government, they could work out a deal with Samsung or one of the Android phone makers to supply bare phones which could then be flashed with a government-made version of Android or AOSP, similar to CyanogenMod. But by the same token, the government could certainly do this for their PCs too, making their own custom Linux distro.

      But instead, the Government is doubling down on crippled, closed, proprietary platforms that the Government has almost zero control over: Windows 10 on PCs/laptops and Apple iPhones.

      And it's not like other countries' governments are doing much better (though they wouldn't have the economies of scale the USG has, except maybe China). At best, we're seeing some European municipalities adopting Linux but that's about it.

      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:37PM (#51640503) Journal

        Android is more or less open.

        IMHO, for those that think along these lines, why not have the US government contract out the design and build of their own Smart Phone. That way, they can really tell everyone where to go. And with Android, they could probably do it fairly easily.

        FYI, I was half expecting the guy to be a (D), but noticed he was an (R). Which is why I I would never vote for anyone in either party.

        • Let the government (any government) design a smart phone and it'll probably end up sucking horribly at $3000 a unit. And instead of keeping up with modern technology, they will take at least 5 years to come up with the next model which will then be 3 years behind.

          Nothing wrong with government buying closed stuff like Apple as long as you can easily migrate away from it if necessary. I've worked with corporate ecosystems that accommodated a mix of Android, Windows and iOS phones very well, and dropping on
          • 1-There are documented examples of the government doing things on time and under budget. The many state wide bans on funding of municipal WIFI proves that. 2-Mandating open standards so we can easily drop a supplier is an excellent idea. I think we should start with the Microsoft Doc format.
      • Do you think if the US Government mandated Open systems there wouldn't be a long line of manufacturers breaking down the door to provide these Open systems?
    • The one intelligent thing out of this clown's mouth and you guys mod him down?? WTF?!
      • I was thinking the same thing. Its the most intelligent thing I have said in months and it gets modded down???
        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          Can't judge the value of an orator by the size of his audience. Otherwise it would imply that Apple makes the best mobile devices and that McDonalds makes the best breakfast food.

    • "You are "buying" a walled garden full of security holes and endless paid upgrades"

      Let me see if I got this. The government should boycott Apple because it's too secure for the FBI to break into. At the same time, Apple is too full of security holes for said government to trust it. Is this the kind of logic that politicians use?

      • Apple isn't secure. There are one line exploits for root for OSX for Gods sake!
      • I'm sure all those celebs who got their nude pics leaked agree with you. Because clearly "being secure" is one all-encompassing thing that you can use to bullshit your iPropaganda.

    • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:31PM (#51641479)

      But ... the reason for this hall of fame hissy fit is that the phone is *too* secure. They can't break into it, so they're gonna show apple who's boss and stop buying their stuff

      When really, this is the exact opposite of the correct response. If the iPhone is so secure that the FBI is having to run through all this legal crap to even get an attempt at breaking in (which still might fail) the gubmint should be switching to iPhones across the board.

    • I have an ever better reason the Government should be banned from buying Apple (or Microsoft): It ain't Open. You are "buying" a walled garden full of security holes and endless paid upgrades. The Government should only be purchasing truly Open systems.

      Walled garden? From the point of view of someone buying a large number of devices, this is a positive, not a negative.
      Security holes? It's the lack of security holes that has lead us to this situation.
      Paid upgrades? Every new version of iOS is free of charge. Now, tell me - how many Android phones have been released that have never seen an upgrade released for them?

    • Heh, yeah, it's full of security holes, just not the ones that will let the gov't in.

  • Tantrums (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:19PM (#51640359)

    I really wish people like this got booted out of office by the fed up constituency. How much tax payer money was just wasted on drafting this piece of worthless paper? I fully realize how fed up and cynical I have become.

    • I really wish people like this got booted out of office by the fed up constituency.

      I really wish people this empty-headed never got voted into office in the first place. It's much easier to not let them in than it is to kick them out.

      • They lack skills for the real world though. "I'm sorry David, you just don't seem to be cut out for a career here at Dairy Queen. Have you considered make a moving to politics?"

    • I really wish people like this got booted out of office by the fed up constituency.

      The sad thing is this idiot is doing this to get booted IN to office (Rubio's FL Senate seat). Even sadder is that it might actually help. [usatoday.com]

    • Who f... cares? This bill has 1% chance to be enacted. It shouldn't even discussed on /. for what it worth.
      • Re:Tantrums (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @03:09AM (#51642401)

        Just yesterday I was playing FF14, doing a bit of crafting, and had just a 1% chance of my craft turning out to be high quality.

        And it happened.

        See, 1% is indeed a very small chance - but it is still a chance, and therein lies the problem.

    • Maybe Tim should suggest his users in Florida boycott David Jolly.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      The purpose of that guy is not to be cost-effective, it's to convey the wishes of the population and nudge legislation accordingly. He's doing his job.

    • He may be too young to really remember 9/11. What I remember is that congress jumped and did exactly everything the government asked for and we ended up going to war with two countries that we still haven't managed to extricate ourselves from, hundreds of thousands of people are dead, terrorism is now rampant primarily due to US actions, we have many failed states in its wake, and plenty of politicians will readily admit that they made a mistake when authorizing military action. So now we have a dumb cong

    • I really wish people like this got booted out of office by the fed up constituency. How much tax payer money was just wasted on drafting this piece of worthless paper? I fully realize how fed up and cynical I have become.

      The worst part is they *cant* pass this law. Its straight up unconstitutional. Section 9 of the constitution straight up forbids pasing bills of atainder (A law targetting a specific individual and declaring them guilty) or retrospective laws. This would last 5 minutes in court before being

  • Bill of Attainder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:20PM (#51640365)

    That is a bill of attainder and is unconstitutional.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ClickOnThis ( 137803 )

      That is a bill of attainder and is unconstitutional.

      From Google:

      at-tain-der (noun historical) the forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony.

      I understand the incredulous response to this proposed legislation, but calling it a bill of attainder is a gross exaggeration.

      • Re:Bill of Attainder (Score:5, Informative)

        by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:46PM (#51640565) Journal

        I think a "bill of attainder" [cornell.edu] has a different legal definition, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As I understand it, bill of attainder [wikipedia.org] is a law that targets a person or group by declaring them guilty of a crime along with some punishment. It was abused by the British Monarchy prior to the Revolutionary War, and resulted in a Constitutional ban on all such laws. Article I, section 9, clause 3 [about.com]:

        No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

        The last time I heard the term "bill of attander" in the news was the Palm Sunday Compromise [wikipedia.org] ten years ago, when supposed state-rights Republicans rushed

      • Re:Bill of Attainder (Score:5, Informative)

        by Holi ( 250190 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:24PM (#51640739)
        from google:

        A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.
        • from google:
          A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.

          As I have said above, I disagree with this bill and I hope it dies a swift death.

          That said, I do not agree that it is bill of attainder.

          Apple has not been declared guilty of any crime, either within the legal system or within this bill. The author of the bill is trying to encourage a government boycott of Apple as a retaliation for their lack of co-operation with the FBI. Again: I think that's wrong, but it's not a legislative declaration of guilt. It's just a pissed-off legislator trying to gain political

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      The problem is, if they were to start a petition on change.org instead it wouldn't work because people who sign that kind of petition are mostly Apple customers and cognitive dissonance prevents them from blaming Apple no matter what. Same reason why Apple can have one of the worst ecological track record in manufacturing without the greeners complaining.

  • Catch 22 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadDecoy ( 877617 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:24PM (#51640383)
    Ironically, if Apple does comply with the federal request, they should be banned on grounds that their hardware is no longer secure.
    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Ironically, if Apple does comply with the federal request, they should be banned on grounds that their hardware is no longer secure.

      Do you know what the request is? They haven't been asked to unlock or hack into iPhones. They've simply been asked to disable the "brick after 10 failed attempts on the pin code" feature on THAT specific device (the one used by the guy who killed 14 people).

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Furthermore, by complying with the US government, foreign governments will be able to ask for this too. What's Apple going to do in China, give up their huge profits? Do Americans really want to let foreign governments have the power to open their phones? Probably most don't care given how many don't even have passports.

      • Probably most don't care given how many don't even have passports.

        Most of them can't afford to travel, and you want them to spend money on a passport?

  • Since our money could be put to such better use subsidizing corrupt, power-hungry politicians.
  • by MrKrillls ( 3858631 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:26PM (#51640405)
    First I read about seized iPhone may hold “dormant cyber pathogen” http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com] , and now, this new idiot.

    The stupidity is strong here.

    • by rwyoder ( 759998 )

      First I read about seized iPhone may hold “dormant cyber pathogen” http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com] , and now, this new idiot.

      The stupidity is strong here.

      That iPhone may also hold the latitude/longitude of Jimmy Hoffa's body, and the identity of the Zodiac Killer.

  • The honorable Representative in question:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    http://jolly.house.gov/ [house.gov]

    A real trailblazer in his concern for Veterans, The Economy, Healthcare, and Beaches.
  • by cyberspittle ( 519754 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:36PM (#51640493) Homepage
    One thing the govt can always do, whether we like it or not, is revert to the control of encryption that was common in the 1990s and earlier. They could, by law, restrict encryption for export, etc. One reason Apple should not push to hard, but then again Apple has no problem providing all kinds of decryption support in China.
    • One thing the govt can always do, whether we like it or not, is revert to the control of encryption that was common in the 1990s and earlier. They could, by law, restrict encryption for export, etc.

      No, they can't. As I just ranted about in an earlier comment [slashdot.org]... Source code is protected speech, and speech is constitutionally protected from government censorship. Without the overwhelming support needed to pass a constitutional amendment (which nobody believes the US Fed can possibly hope to manage these day

      • Also, we go go back to classifying encryption as armaments, then the NRA would be on Apple's side. And a politician with the balls to stand up to the NRA is even more rare a creature than a politician with any shred of honesty or integrity.

        Come to think of it... that may really be the best thing for Apple and encryption.

      • That would only apply in USA. Don't fool yourself. In PRC you have no protection. USA govt can have software "rendition" done overseas where USA laws do not apply. Or maybe just stick your head in the sand. Have some more Kool-Aid. Fool.
    • Yes, restricting the export of software that does encryption would work so well. It would take Apple and any other company all of two minutes to get around that.

      "Hey everyone. The encryption group is going to have to relocate due to these new rules. What country do we want to move to? Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK, anywhere else? Relocation expenses and a large bonus for the hassle. The final OS integration team is coming too."

      And then Apple isn't exporting the software but importing it.

  • by the_other_one ( 178565 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:37PM (#51640499) Homepage

    Close all offices and manufacturing in the US and go. The US does not need all those jobs and taxes.

  • Don't think for a minute that you have privacy with iPhone. Apple only wants to be able to legally say no to requests from USA govt. In Peoples Republic of China, Apple must comply, or they cannot do business there. Tech companies must provide PRC with source code (under SLA), just as Microsoft did with Windows.
    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      Don't think for a minute that you have privacy with iPhone. Apple only wants to be able to legally say no to requests from USA govt. In Peoples Republic of China, Apple must comply, or they cannot do business there. Tech companies must provide PRC with source code (under SLA), just as Microsoft did with Windows.

      If that source code means signing keys, yeah. Otherwise, you're wrong.

      • Source code was one particular example of tech companies complying with PRC. I am sure that there are other ways that tech companies are complying with PRC. After all PRC is big market.
    • If they can't say no, then they can't ask for money.
  • I prefer not to have the walled garden, but I'd like to protest this stupid rule more than I want to protest Apple!

  • I guess that's one way a politician can announce their retirement. Oh, and why would US government buy products which can be broken into by foreign governments? Is he trying to make America less safe?
  • With so many blatantly unconstitutional laws passed, it would be nice if the people that wrote & passed them could be held accountable somehow. I suppose we can all dream.

  • Warnings (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    All tech products sold with poor encryption should have the following warning in a large font:

    WARNING:

    This data is stored on a US server, using INTENTIONALLY WEAK ENCRYPTION which is EASILY BYPASSED.

    Users are advised NOT to store anything PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE.

    Users assume ALL RISK for any IDENTITY THEFT.

    Users are ENCOURAGED to purchase IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION INSURANCE. Note that this insurance may also be hosted in the US and may be INEFFECTIVE.

    Users are requested to use a CREDIT CARD for ALL PURCHASE

  • Tax payer money shouldn't be wasted on rounded corners anyway.

    Government computers are supposed to be utilitarian and beige.

  • Should rename himself Jolly-Roger.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:07PM (#51640671) Journal

    The US was founded upon fear of an excessively powerful central government, as the British crown was seen massively abusing their power. So strong protections were built-in that weakened law enforcement for the benefit of civil liberties. There have always been other systems of government that are slightly more effective at catching or prosecuting criminals, but Americans knew, for hundreds of years, those trade-offs weren't worth it.

    The limiting of government power was so ingrained that the US seems to be the only major nation without a state broadcaster. Outside the US, everybody in the world knows the VOA, but they are NOT allowed to operate inside the US at all. We believed the ability of the current government to directly influence the electorate, was too much power and control to give to our representatives, and settled on allowing only operation on foreign soil, with aggressive protections against even incidental domestic operation.

    A warrant, today, gets the FBI exactly the same information it did 50 years ago... They can tap and record all the calls that occur after the warrant is issued, get a log of all previous calls that were made, etc.

    Computers have made US law enforcement lazy. They expect they can get a warrant and will automatically be handed an archive with the contents of ALL of your communications for the past several YEARS. The information they got with a warrant decades ago is no longer good enough for them, and they're going to insist on the power they've gotten accustomed to, and refuse to allow privacy to make a comeback.

    Remember, it was only a year ago that the entire contents of your phone were siphoned off by the police whenever you were pulled over just for speeding. This was done under the laws that allows them to look for weapons in the vicinity that you might be able to reach for, and which got extended to allow into evidence incriminating documents that just happened to be found in the process of searching for weapons.

    And what did the police do with their gigabytes of all your personal information they siphoned off your phone? Maybe look for patterns of terrorism and drug dealing? No. Why they instead they thought it would be a good idea to look for any nude photos you might have, and share them with their friends. [slashdot.org] Hooray for law enforcement keeping us all safe!

    The San Bernardino case is pretty damn obviously worthless, too. The FBI has already FAILED to protect the public. The shooters already carried out their attacks, and were shot dead. FBI and Homeland Security failed miserably to identify them as threats, despite there being ample publicly available information to identify them as ISIL sympathizers. It's the same story as the 9/11 attacks all over again. Homeland Security had MORE INFORMATION than they were able to process and deal with, yet they use attacks as a lame excuse to expand their power, their budget, and get access to much more information, which again, they don't have any hope of being able to process in a timely manner.

    Homeland Security has become better and better at revealing details after the fact, but is still useless at identifying individuals who pose a threat before they can carry out their plans to murder people. Apple unlocking iPhones for the FBI is more of the same... It won't possibly help identify future threats, it'll just be a little bit more information the FBI can publish about their past.

    This was settled back in the early 90s with the PGP case. Code for encryption programs falls under the constitutional protections of freedom of speech. A new federal law or court ruling cannot override constitutional rights, and there's absolutely no hope of

    It's a shame Homeland Security has gone so far the wrong way. Part of the NSA's purview is to help IMPROVE our domestic security against attack and interception by foreign governments. Under a cloud of p

    • It's a shame Homeland Security has gone so far the wrong way.

      Your comment was going great until here. This is what the HSA was intended to do from the beginning. It's not a shame, it's their purpose. There is no other.

  • Freedom Fries (Score:2, Interesting)

    And just how long did that last?

    If there is a way to be an asshole in public, someone in the GOP will do it. And the rest will follow, otherwise they might get kicked out of the pack for being "too librul".

    Heck, Trump just told the public he is well hung during a presidential debate. For the Republicans a "big tent" means that any level of stupid is allowed. The fact that so many Republicans hold elected office is a measure of the blind idiocy of the American public.

    • And just how long did that last?

      If there is a way to be an asshole in public, someone in the GOP will do it. And the rest will follow, otherwise they might get kicked out of the pack for being "too librul".

      There used to be decent Republicans in office; ones who understood that having a different viewpoint didn't make you evil and who would work with the Democrats to find common ground and actually do things that were good for the country. They had some core principles but understood compromise was what got things done. They could argue long and hard on the floor and afterwards go get a drink and figure out what common ground let them come up with a solution both sides could live with. Somewhere along the line

  • by UPZ ( 947916 )
    When did we become a country of dumbasses?
  • It's like Apple, the FBI, and Congress are vying for the title of "most harmful to personal privacy and security in 2016". I guess the year is still young; maybe others will still get into the game.
  • I'm certainly not an Apple fanboy. But apparently Apple didn't break any law. Perhaps it would actually break a law by complying to the request.

    There are enough security agencies and services that could have done their homework by gathering and processed intelligence. But they didn't. And now they go around begging others for answers. Much like cheating on your tests. Do your homework and stop whining, I'd say.

    Much along the lines of VW cheating at benchmarks. Coming with an absolutely crap emissions t

In 1914, the first crossword puzzle was printed in a newspaper. The creator received $4000 down ... and $3000 across.

Working...