Update: Holder’s digital straw man.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.
Trust us, we’re the government. Righhhhhhht.
He called on companies “to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators.”
Comey added that FBI officials already have made initial contact with the two companies, which announced their new smartphone encryption initiatives last week. He said he could not understand why companies would “market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”
Why, Comey? Because we live in a free society and (for now) it is not against the law for companies to sell the devices or for consumer to buy the devices.
One Justice Department official said that if the new systems work as advertised, they will make it harder, if not impossible, to solve some cases. Another said the companies have promised customers “the equivalent of a house that can’t be searched, or a car trunk that could never be opened.”
Andrew Weissmann, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation general counsel, called Apple’s announcement outrageous, because even a judge’s decision that there is probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed won’t get Apple to help retrieve potential evidence. Apple is “announcing to criminals, ‘use this,’ ” he said. “You could have people who are defrauded, threatened, or even at the extreme, terrorists using it.”
The level of privacy described by Apple and Google is “wonderful until it’s your kid who is kidnapped and being abused, and because of the technology, we can’t get to them,” said Ronald Hosko, who left the FBI earlier this year as the head of its criminal-investigations division. “Who’s going to get lost because of this, and we’re not going to crack the case?”
Oh bullshit! Straw-man, much?
In addition, a court could try to force a suspect to unlock his phone, said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. And a suspect could make data vulnerable to investigators by backing up files, or linking the phone to a computer.
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, predicted federal investigators wouldn’t be too hampered by the change, but state and local detectives could be. “It’s not so much a problem for ‘Big Brother,’ but a problem for ‘Little Brother,’ ” he said.
*PCD (Personnel Communication Device)
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web 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.”
Apple will still have the ability — and the legal responsibility — to turn over user data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which typically includes backups of photos, videos, e-mail communications, music collections and more. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information will have to adjust settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud.
Excellent!! I might even consider changing out from years of Android use.
What say you Google? You have been called and raised.
“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff. “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”