At a press conference yesterday FBI director James Comey strongly criticized both Apple and Google for creating smart phone encryption codes that are so secure that even members of law enforcement is unable to easily gain access to data saved on the electronic devices – whether they have search warrants or not. Across the country American law enforcement officials have echoed Comey’s strong denunciation.
Officials have previously stated that the ability to access and search messages, pictures and web histories on cell phones is crucial to solving numerous significant crimes including child pornography, murder and terrorist attacks. Comey is concerned because Apple and Google have made their mobile equipment significantly less hackable by the federal government. In fact, Apple’s new iOS 8 and Google’s Android L are both reportedly so heavily encrypted that only the owner is able to gain access to the information on the smart phone.
It may very well be that smart phone owners care more about personal privacy and feel that government agencies such as the NSA don’t need to be checking on them. Apple and Google have simply made a business decision: Give the consumer what he/she wants whether it inconveniences or even impedes the government or not.
Comey said: “There will come a day – well it comes every day in this business – when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to with judicial authorization gain access to a kidnapper’s or a terrorist or a criminal’s device.”
He added: “I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes. I’d hate to have people look at me and say, ‘Well how come you can’t save this kid,’ ‘How come you can’t do this thing.’”
Comey concluded: “I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law. What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”
According to sources such as The Register, Comey is in talks with both Apple and Google regarding their “new found direction” towards protecting smart phone owners. No details have been revealed as this story went to press.
FBI Head Blasts Apple Over Encryption