Congress Yesterday

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Attempts by states like California and New York to ban the sale of encrypted phones could be overruled by federal law. The Verge reports that a cross-party bill is being introduced today in Congress by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX).

The ENCRYPT Act of 2016, or by its longer name, the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications Act, would preempt state and local government encryption laws. The two men said today they are “deeply concerned” that varying bills surrounding encryption would endanger the country as well as the competitiveness of American companies. The argument is that it wouldn’t be easy or even feasible to tailor phone encryption capabilities for specific states.

New York last month kicked off the attempt to ban the sale of encrypted phones in the state unless the manufacturer built in a back door, with a virtually identical bill proposed in California later the same month. The moves – which would effectively outlaw the sale of current iPhones in both states – followed similar proposals in the UK last year …

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Congress January 21

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is the latest to weigh in on the issue of data encryption policy with the executive telling The Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Tim Cook and other tech execs should leave the decision making on encryption policy up to Congress:

“I don’t think it is Silicon Valley’s decision to make about whether encryption is the right thing to do. I understand Tim Cook’s decision, but I don’t think it’s his decision to make”… I personally think that this is an issue that should be decided by the American people and Congress, not by companies,”

…The AT&T chief said his own company has been unfairly singled out in the debate over access to data. “It is silliness to say there’s some kind of conspiracy between the U.S. government and AT&T,” he said, adding that the company turns over information only when accompanied by a warrant or court order.

That statement follows a meeting among Cook, other Silicon Valley executives and White House officials last week to discuss topics related to encryption policies and government access to data.

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Congress July 23, 2015

Apple is officially putting its weight behind new LGBT anti-discrimination legislature currently being proposed in Congress. The company said in a statement to the Human Rights Campaign that it actively supports the Equality Act.

At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. We fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic human dignity.

Apple’s support for the bill that would expand federal protections in the workplace to LGBT Americans in all states follows several years of Apple CEO Tim Cook calling on Congress to pass such legislation, and Apple’s backing is in line with its own company policies. expand full story

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Congress November 14, 2014

Bloomberg reports that groups representing Apple, Google, Facebook and other high profile tech companies are lobbying to pass a new bill that attempts to limit NSA spying of email and communications of their users. The report says the groups are “pushing the Senate to pass legislation limiting National Security Agency spying before the Republican majority takes control of the chamber.” The news comes ahead of the Senate vote on the new bill scheduled for Nov. 18 and an upcoming Republican controlled Congress taking over in January: expand full story

Congress November 3, 2013

In a rare move, Apple CEO Tim Cook has written an opinion article in the Wall Street JournalTim Cook discusses his feelings about race, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation equality in the context of life inside of and outside of Apple. Cook says that Apple fosters an environment where every single person is safe and welcomed. He goes on to share details about this and Apple’s policies:

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Congress May 21, 2013

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