Wednesday, October 01, 2014

US Law Enforcement Challenges Apple and Google's Data Encryption
National Security Agency headquarters.
US Attorney General Eric Holder hopes the technology industry is willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the future with companies like Apple and Google pushing for data locks

US law enforcement challenges Apple and Google’s data encryption

By Josh Durso on September 30, 2014

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may have submitted his letter of resignation last week, but that doesn’t mean he’s mailing in the rest of his time in office.

He urged technology companies to continue granting law enforcement access to smartphone data. In his prepared remarks, Tuesday, he responded to new privacy features from technology giants like Google, and Apple, that could potentially challenge investigations into matters of child sex abuse.

He isn’t the only individual in law enforcement with concerns regarding Google and Apple’s new privacy features. Others have argued that the new features will make it difficult, or stymie investigations into crimes like drug trafficking, child sex abuse, and terrorism.

While law enforcement isn’t trying to take all information, this comes at a time when consumers are ultra-sensitive to anyone trying to take pieces and bits of their data, or personal information. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children.”

Some have argued that these new privacy features will do just that – prevent law enforcement from doing their job. The new features that are being talked about is greater encryption on mobile devices that have been the latest security feature pushed out by Google and Apple. Eric Holder is the highest ranking member of law enforcement to take such a stand against the new features and the tech giants.

The Justice Department is looking into the matter and they’re trying to figure out how the new systems, and encryption put forward by Google and Apple work and how the companies could possibly alter their encryption to make it accessible when its court ordered.

While Holder remarked on the matter, he didn’t say how exactly the Justice Department would change the companies’ minds because he did make clear in his remarks that he wanted a joint effort to occur and that it shouldn’t be a forced matter. In his view, it should be a matter that is done willfully, and that tech companies like Google and Apple should be eager to cooperate with the government.

However, while Apple and Google have also made it clear that they don’t want to protect the identity or crimes of criminals like sexual predators, they do however want to protect customer data from hackers, as well as the government.

Especially since the NSA spy revelations have been looming over customer data, and a recent iCloud breach, which resulted in private celebrity photos being leaked onto the internet.

Clearly, there is some middle ground that needs to be reached in the data protection world, and this is only the beginning of that debate.

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