Apple: Senate bills risk unleashing ‘malware, ransomware and scams’

From Apple’s letter to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, posted Tuesday:

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, and it may soon consider S. 2710, the Open App Markets Act. Apple has appreciated the opportunity to engage with the Committee on these bills, but we remain concerned that they will hurt competition and discourage innovation…

The most glaring problem with these bills is the risk they pose to the privacy and security of Americans’ personal devices. Today, our smart phones are not just phones; they store some of our most sensitive information about our personal and professional lives. We keep them with us wherever we go, and we use them to call and text with loved ones, take and store photos of our children, give us directions when we’re lost, count our steps, send money to friends, and so much more.

While both bills ostensibly permit privacy and security protections, they erect very steep obstacles for such safeguards. Specifically, to introduce new and enhanced privacy or security protections under the bills, Apple would have to prove the protections were “necessary,” “narrowly tailored,” and that no less restrictive protections were available. This is a nearly insurmountable test, especially when applied after-the-fact as an affirmative defense. And it essentially could lead to a lowest common denominator problem in which consumers will no longer have the choice to purchase a smart mobile device that provides them with the highest-level of security and privacy protection…

These bills will reward those who have been irresponsible with users’ data and empower bad actors who would target consumers with malware, ransomware, and scams.

My take: I doubt Dick Durbin, Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee are losing much sleep over the lowest common denominator problem. 

10 Comments

  1. Duane Bemister said:
    You would hope so, call me sceptical.

    1
    January 18, 2022
  2. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    Elections have consequences. Please remember to choose wisely each November. Personal privacy and digital security are high on my list of concerns (among other important issues) when I review a politician’s positions and legislative history. Considering how often I get spam calls with spoofed numbers and other intrusive violations into my digital life, these are important issues.

    5
    January 18, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      Unfortunately, gerrymandering also has consequences. Twice I’ve been gerrymandered into districts where my vote was explicitly diluted (Virginia and now New Hampshire.)

      1
      January 19, 2022
  3. John Butt said:
    This could leave the USA with a unique distribution of an insecure iOS while the rest of the world, including China have secure iPhones.

    7
    January 18, 2022
  4. Another amazing thing Apple does so well is navigate 174 nation’s laws, regulatory bodies, press, leaders/politician’s whims, plus taxes, licenses, fees and fines. This app is banned in the App Store of that country. The legal team must prepare to argue in a court near Oploo but now known as Land van Cuiji. US lawmakers lag EU regulators, so far as technical understanding goes. One guy gets booted off a social platform for repeat violations so now all platforms must allow anything or face the wrath of one group or another.
    I can see Apple content to safely offer hardware capable of presenting metaverse content while remaining out of any social media role. FB, YouTube and TikTok are far riskier business in all lands, virtual or real. Apple TV+, Fitness or Games meets metaverse, yes.

    3
    January 18, 2022

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