Recapping the Iowa Caucus: Next Stop New Hampshire  

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked the whole day into the next morning, when officials announced Clinton's victory by the narrowest of margins. With Martin O'Malley's official exit from the race, the two final Democrat candidates are charging into New Hampshire in a dead heat. 

The GOP side yielded its own surprises, as an increased voter turnout resulted in a rather surprising surge of support of Marco Rubio, in addition to the more predictable rise of frontrunners Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Members of Marco Rubio's camp are extolling his third place finish in Iowa as evidence that he's peaking at just the right time, calling it a three way race to the finish.

The other GOP candidates still in the running will attempt to diminish their opponents lead in the coming weeks. With the next most voted candidate being Ben Carson  at 9.3% and more than 10 percentage point behind the leading trio, this could be an uphill battle. Meanwhile, Trump's bold tactics, including forgoing the final Iowa debate for the GOP, failed to pay off and resulted in only a modest victory over Rubio. 

Check out the final results of the Iowa Caucus here, and read more about what happened in Iowa and what to look forward to in New Hampshire here and here

Ban on Encrypted Smartphones in California?   

Assembly Bill 1681 would require that all phones made "on or after January 1, 2017" and "sold in California after that date" must be "capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider." If a smartphone cannot be decrypted, the seller will be subject to a fine of $2,500. 

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D- Elk Grove, speaks to the global controversy over security vs. privacy for technology. As home to Google and Apple and one of the largest markets for technology worldwide, California will serve as a new platform for the international debate on where the balance between law enforcement monitoring and individual right to privacy should lie. 

While governments claim that monitoring global communications is essential to ensuring the safety of citizens and preventing crime, many caution against a violation of digital privacy. While citizens are increasingly willing to share information using technology and social media, they still demand and deserve protection from those who  may abuse the vulnerability of unencrypted smartphones. 

Critics of the measure point out that mandating the decryption of phones would provide a way for hackers to obtain sensitive information, not just law enforcement. Moreover, even if such a ban were a reasonable compromise in privacy for the sake of public safety, the law would be almost impossible to enforce unless implemented on a federal level. If passed, consumers could simply cross state lines to purchase their smartphones, effectively avoiding the ban. 


Despite increasing pressure to approve some version of the bill, legislators are facing strong opposition from legal experts and technical industry officials. More on this bill and the potential crackdown on phone companies here

February 5, 2016



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