FBI Concerned With New Default Encryption Settings in iOS and Android Devices

The FBI has been in talks with Apple and Google about the way the technology companies are marketing the privacy features in their smartphones, according to FBI Director James Comey (via The Huffington Post). Comey says that he is concerned that the two companies are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."

Comey's remarks come following both privacy changes introduced with iOS 8 and a new privacy site that Apple introduced last week, explaining that the company has altered the way encryption works in iOS 8. Apple no longer stores the encryption keys for devices in iOS 8, making it impossible for it to unlock content on devices under police request.

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"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access your data," reads its new privacy site. "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."

Shortly after Apple announced the encryption changes to iOS 8, Google announced that the next generation of Android, set to be released next month, will also encrypt data by default, providing the same encryption protections to its smartphones that a passcode provides to iPhones.

According to Comey, though he understands the need for privacy, he believes government access to electronic devices is necessary in some cases.

"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," he said. "The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."

He goes on to say that one day, it may matter "a great, great deal" that the government be able to infiltrate "a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device." His goal, he says, is to have a "good conversation" in the country "before that day comes."

The exact nature of the talks between FBI officials and Apple and Google remains unknown, with Comey only stating that the discussion has been over the "marketing of their devices."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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76 months ago
Comey doesn't get it.

If he supports the 4th Amendment (like he says he does), then he needs to get a warrant and serve it to the suspect, to have their device unlocked. Apple is not the suspect in any investigation like he describes.

It sounds like he is complaining because the usual circumventions they had to get around the 4th Amendment are no longer available.. as it should be.

BL.
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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76 months ago

i have nothing to hide...

people like you ruin it for everyone else
Score: 77 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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76 months ago
yep, lets throw away everyones privacy to catch a thief. makes sense
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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76 months ago
I hate how authorities view the desire for privacy as the same as desire to cover up a crime. There are plenty of reasons to want to keep legal activities private other than committing a crime.
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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76 months ago
I'm glad our data is encrypted. **** the NSA
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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76 months ago
It seems to me that it would be perfectly fair for the FBI to get a warrant requiring a suspect to unlock their phone so that it can be searched much the same way their house is. The FBI doesn't go to the bank that owns your house when they want to search it and likewise shouldn't go to apple to get my data. Serve me a warrant saying I have to give it to you or I go to jail. That's how lawful search and seizure works. Deal with it FBI.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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