Tuesday, May 10 2016

Will the Government Fine Companies Who Refuse to Unlock Smartphones?

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will the goverment fine companies

The balance between security and privacy is a constant struggle. Consumers rightly want their personal information protected, and have a constitutional right to privacy from unauthorized searches. At the same time, government security agencies have a legitimate interest in investigating threats to security, including terrorism. When the agencies go through proper channels, technology firms are put in a difficult position between meeting the expectations of their customers and satisfying their responsibilities under the law.

Apple vs. FBI

This struggle was made highly visible during the recent battle between the FBI and Apple over the contents of an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI obtained a court order that would force Apple to develop a backdoor that would allow the FBI to break into the phone to read its contents. Although Apple appealed the court order and didn't comply, the FBI was able to read the contents of the phone via a hack provided by a third party.

This isn't the first time the government has pressured a technology firm in a security matter. Yahoo faced crippling fines if it didn't participate in the PRISM security program; it had no choice but to participate or go bankrupt.

Legal Changes Coming?

Now a bill proposed in the Senate would impose fines on technology firms that don't provide the government with a backdoor to bypass security measures on technical products. And both New York and California have proposed state measures to prohibit the sale of devices that can't be unlocked by law enforcement.

Currently the Senate bill is a draft under consideration. Technology firms are lobbying against it, as the requested backdoors would make the devices vulnerable to hackers and spies, not just court-ordered searches. The law would also make it more difficult for the companies to sell their products to overseas customers, who are already suspicious of the reach of American national security agencies.

Information Security Experts in Demand

Information security experts are in demand, whether to build the next generation of devices or to help companies protect their information against intruders. Whether you're a cybersecurity professional looking for your next opportunity or a company that needs to add to your defenses, The Armada Group's boutique placement service matches candidates to the right position. Contact us to learn how our services can help make you and your organization more secure.