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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Comments on “Congressman Proposes Law Banning Government From Purchasing Apple Devices”

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48 Comments
sigalrm (profile) says:

Re: 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.

David says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

” 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?

CanadianByChoice (profile) says:

“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)?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

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.

JBDragon says:

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.

sigalrm (profile) says:

Re: 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.

David says:

Re: 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?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.).

JBDragon says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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-prostitutes-hired-by-drug-cartels/2015/03/26/adb2d53e-d3bd-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html)

JBDragon says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

DB (profile) says:

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.

John85851 (profile) says:

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.)

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