GOP lawmaker introduces bill that would ban iPhones in government

A Florida lawmaker said the bill was in protest of Apple's opposition to help the FBI break into one phone of the San Bernardino shooters.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Jolly in an October 1, 2014 hearing in the House (Image: CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

"Florida man" strikes again. This time, it's an elected official.

Republican lawmaker Rep. David Jolly (R-FL, 13th) has introduced a bill that would ban Apple products across government.

Jolly said the legislative effort was in protest of the company's refusal to help federal agents unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

In a statement released Thursday, Jolly said that, "taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil."

The bill, dubbed the "No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act," or HR 4663, is just 11 lines long.

The bill says that "no agency" in government may buy or license any Apple product until a court shows that Apple has provided "technical support necessary to access encrypted information sought by a judicial warrant that may be materially relevant to the investigation of commission of terrorism."

In other words: until Apple helps the government unlock the terrorist's iPhone, Apple shouldn't be allowed to have its products in government.

It's a bill that if enacted would go to the very top of government. US President Barack Obama, known to be a long-time BlackBerry user, also uses a range of Apple products around the White House, including MacBooks and iPads.

Jolly's bill doesn't exactly strike at the heart of the battle over encryption between tech companies and law enforcement, unlike other bills which aim to foster discussion and debate over the needs to help law enforcement while balancing civil liberties.

But it would face an uphill battle in the face of wide-ranging support across the tech community.

On Thursday, dozens of tech giants -- including Alphabet's Google, Facebook, and Microsoft -- filed papers in the Apple vs. FBI case in support of the iPhone and iPad maker.

We reached out to Apple for more, but did not hear back outside business hours.

Obama's gadgets: What tech does the president use?

Editorial standards