California bill forcing companies to unlock devices has been abandoned

enisa encryption report condemns backdoors protects your most private data
In a small win for the tech industry, California legislators just defeated a bill that would have imposed penalties on companies that refused to provide access into encrypted services and devices for criminal investigations.

The bill didn’t get a vote, according to the Sacremento Bee, and died after members of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection decided that weakening encrypted services would be a bad move for data security.

Currently, Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., are drafting a federal bill similar to the now-defunct California bill. A draft of the bill was leaked last week and prompted strong backlash from legal and tech experts.

The root of the issue was brought to national attention earlier this year when Apple refused to assist the FBI in offering a backdoor into an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. The FBI dropped the California case after the agency paid professional “gray hat” hackers to break into the iPhone 5C.

The ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI isn’t over though, as the FBI said it still needs Apple’s help unlocking an iPhone locked in a New York drug investigation.

The California encryption bill was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, who found it “mind-boggling” that warrants allowed access to homes but not people’s cellphones.

“I’m not concerned about terrorism,” Cooper said. “The federal investigators deal with that, local law enforcement deals with cases every day and they cannot access this information.”

Assembly Bill 1681 would have slapped $2,500 penalties on phone manufacturers and operating system providers for refusing to obey court orders to provide access.

The FBI has promised to bring the method it used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone to local law enforcement, but the bureau reportedly hasn’t used it yet.

The defeated bill in California is a small boon to the tech industry and those favoring privacy rights, as their biggest worry is that weakening encrypted services and devices would only undermine people’s online security and privacy, making it easier for cybercriminals to prey on them.

A similar bill with the same $2,500 penalty was proposed in New York, but no update has been issued on it yet.

Mobile

Why Honor’s new screen is the hole-y grail in quest to ditch the notch

Honor will release a smartphone with an in-screen camera in the new year, a trend which is gathering momentum in the industry. Honor said it has cracked the formula, and explains what's special about its All-View Display.
Business

Google to expand New York City presence with $1 billion campus

Google is following in Amazon's footsteps with plans to expand its presence in New York City. The company announced on Monday, December 17 that it's investing $1 billion on three sites in Lower Manhattan for more than 7,000 workers.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Business

Apple is still selling iPhones in China despite being ordered not to

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Is somebody watching you? How to stop apps from tracking your location

If you don't like the idea of your every movement being tracked by apps on the phone in your pocket, then you may want to turn location tracking off. We take a look at how to do it on an iPhone or Android phone in this easy guide.
Smart Home

These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data

There are 1.2 million people living in "deficient" housing in New York City and now these coders are making easy-to-use, intuitive apps designed to give tenants a fighting chance against unscrupulous landlords.
Mobile

Google Assistant will alert you if it thinks your flight will be delayed

Google Assistant will soon be able to alert you if your flight is delayed. Using historical flight status data and machine learning, the service can even predict a flight delay before it's been officially confirmed.
Mobile

Forget 3 being a crowd, 4 is the magic number on the Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei's sequel to the P20 Pro, the P30 Pro, has already started to leak ahead of its 2019 announcement and release. The company is likely to improve even further on the P20 Pro's excellent camera.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…
Mobile

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Microsoft patent filing shows wearable that mitigates involuntary movements

A patent application from Microsoft has shown the company is looking into using wearable technology to alleviate symptoms from various diseases and disorders that cause involuntary movements.
Mobile

AT&T makes 5G a reality for a dozen U.S. cities, with more to come in 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.