Obama Administration Declines to Pursue Legislation for Access to Encrypted Data
On October 10, the Obama administration announced that it no longer plans to pursue legislation that would enable U.S. law enforcement agencies to access the encrypted data of smartphone and other digital device users. FBI Director James Comey has expressed worry that the failure to pass such a law will hamper the ability of law enforcement to address modern public safety and national security concerns. Tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, along with leading academic voices in the cryptography and computer science communities, warned that a requirement that providers of digital devices offer the government a gateway to their encrypted data would also make such data vulnerable to hacking. Without a legal mandate for the provision of encrypted customer data, law enforcement will continue to rely on voluntary cooperation to in order to gain access to it.
California Continues Fight Against “Revenge Porn” With New Website
California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced on October 14 the launch of a new website that provides victims of cyber exploitation with resources to help them remove the unauthorized content from the Internet. In addition, the site contains guidelines for tech companies to prevent the sharing of “revenge porn” as well as educational tools aimed at assisting law enforcement to crack down on the posting of such content. This action is the latest in a series of moves by California to address the issue of cyber exploitation. Additionally, Attorney General Harris is pushing the state legislature to pass a pair of laws that would allow revenge porn cases to be prosecuted in the victims’ jurisdiction and put in place a formal means for the removal and destruction of the offensive content.
Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit against University of Wisconsin, May Pay Up To $862 Million in Damages
On October 14, a jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin found Apple guilty of patent infringement against the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The court ruled that chips contained in Apple’s iPhone 5S, 6, and 6S utilize technology that is protected under a 1998 patent filed by WARF. While damages have not yet been determined, Apple may face a penalty of up to $862 million. In 2009, a similar lawsuit against Intel regarding the same patent resulted in an out of court settlement for $110 million according to court documents from the ongoing case against Apple.