Law enforcement officials have been campaigned against privacy measures implemented by Apple, Google, and others following a recent attempt by companies to prevent the government from accessing private user data.
With the launch of iOS 8, Apple announced that it could no longer decrypt iPhones for law enforcement if the device is running the latest software.
On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.
FBI director James Comey said he is 'very concerned' with the steps that tech giants are taking to strengthen privacy on mobile devices.
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is beyond the law," Comey told reporters. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."
The WSJ says that soon after Apple's announcement, the FBI requested a meeting. On October 1st, Deputy Attorney General James Cole met with Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell and two other employees.
Here's what reportedly happened:
In his fourth-floor conference room, Mr. Cole told the Apple officials they were marketing to criminals. At one point, he read aloud from a printout of Apple’s announcement, quoting a section in which the company said that under the new system Apple couldn’t cooperate with a court order to retrieve data from a phone even if it wanted to. Mr. Cole offered the Apple team a gruesome prediction: At some future date, a child will die, and police will say they would have been able to rescue the child, or capture the killer, if only they could have looked inside a certain phone.
Apple representatives viewed Cole's suggestion as 'inflammatory and inaccurate'. They said that police have other ways to get information including call logs and location information from cellphone carriers. In addition, users often store copies of the data on their phones elsewhere.
What do you think? Should companies be forced to implement a backdoor into their software for the government. Let us know in the comments!