Franceâ€™s lawmakers will vote on a plan to impose penalties and jail time on technology executives who deny access to encrypted data during a terrorist investigation, helping security services and prosecutors force companies such as Apple Inc. into cooperation.
The amendment was submitted by the opposition party The Republicans and, while the government hasnâ€™t officially supported the measure, it will be included in Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoasâ€™s bill to overhaul legal procedures and fight organized crime in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. â€œThe rule aims to force phone makers to give investigators data and it will be up to the manufacturer to use whatever technique is necessary,â€ Republican lawmaker Philippe Goujon, who proposed the amendment, said in an interview.
Apple is fighting a Californian judgeâ€™s order to unlock the iPhone of a dead terrorist who carried out a massacre in San Bernardino in December, with its Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook saying the ruling is an attack on privacy. In France, phones with encrypted data are holding up investigators working in several terrorism cases, including the Nov. 13 attacks.
Under Goujonâ€™s proposals, a company operating in France would face a 350,000-euro ($386,000) fine and its executives could be jailed for up to five years if it denied investigators access to data. In addition, every person who refused to share information relating to an investigation could be sentenced to two years in jail and fined 15,000 euros.