Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOGL) have been marketing the privacy services in their smartphones that encrypt user data automatically. However, U.S Attorney General as well as FBI Director along with local police officials criticised these services as they make investigations harder for law enforcement agencies. Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at The George Washington University Law School disagrees and states that warrants obtained from traditional courts will provide access to whatever information police will need to access.
This has become a cause of conflict between techno companies and the law enforcement agencies. After revelation made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden that bigger companies actually assisted the government into penetrating private information, these companies now want to gain back the confidence of their clients.
This will encrypt data automatically and an encryption key will be required to access it. Data will only be accessible through client consent.
Stewart Baker, an ex-general counsel at NSA said that automatic encryption system will have a deep impact on investigation methods.
Baker further stated that phones can still be tapped and the phone call records can still be obtained. Investigators will still be able to hack the software to collect information.
Cloud services provided by cellular companies:
Tech companies can be forced by the government or law enforcement agencies to hand over information stored on cloud devices. U.S judges committee is looking to pass a ruling where federal agents will get full access into any suspect’s data.
Niki Christoff, a Google (GOOGL) representative said that people were used to having safes and combination locks to secure their information but now they use encryption instead.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO, Tim Cook wrote on the website that they have neither allowed access to any of their devices nor to any of its servers.
The government interest in gaining data came into the limelight when some documents were leaked in September that revealed that Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) had to pay millions as it refused to abide by the government demands of accessing users data. In May, 2008; Yahoo (YHOO) gave in to NSA’s Prism electronic surveillance programme without declaring it to the public. The company ended up going to the courts and won the rights to release information.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had obeyed the court orders and had unlocked the phones for law enforcement agencies, it revealed its stance on its website in September.
Company’s main focus:
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) declared that it cannot bypass client passcode and thus cannot access user data.
In September Google (GOOGL) affirmed encryption feature was introduced 3 years ago, but is now automatic for the convenience of users.
Kill switch is a built in OS that gives companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Google (GOOGL) the power to access user data to get rid of malicious software. The companies can also access data stored on mobile devices through kill switch. Although this feature was created for security reasons, it is unclear whether the new encryption will prevent its access or not.