As Apple faces off against the FBI in court to avoid undermining the security of its own products, one congressman has a plan to make Apple cooperate. Republican congressman David Jolly has introduced the No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act. This bill would prohibit any entity in the federal government from buying Apple products until the company provides the assistance being requested by the FBI.
"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 at a congressional hearing. Describing the importance of unlocking the phone Jolly stated, "According to the FBI Director, this phone likely contains communications preceding the terrorist attack, including potential calls and messages with fellow terrorists with whom he coordinated." Finally, he called on Apple to show the same conviction to protect the nation that "every citizen and every company" had following 9/11.
The text of the bill is quite short. Section one merely states the short title that the bill can be cited by. The only other section is posted below.
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.
It's not too clear how much support this bill will find in Congress. While there are certainly elements in Congress that side with the FBI in this case, the recent congressional hearing on this matter had some hostile questioning directed at the FBI director. A major point of concern is the fact that the FBI got this court order while there is still an ongoing debate within Congress on how to deal with encryption. There are serious fears that the FBI is trying to bypass Congress's legislative authority.
Should Congress follow Donald Trump's lead and boycott Apple? Leave your comments below.