Several weeks ago, I wrote about how some people in the United Kingdom believe that the only way to stop terrorism is to limit people’s “free speech” rights and allow government agencies to have unlimited access to everyone’s tech devices. The U.S. Justice Department even got into the argument by having a high ranking official claim that new encryption technology on smartphones would “lead to tragedy” as a “child would die….because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone.”
As the Wall Street Journal wrote about yesterday, law enforcement agencies are continuing to push their theory of how evil new technology will be for the country’s safety. The main issue is that companies such as Apple and Google are putting in place improved technology on smartphones and tablets which make their devices more secure.
“But law-enforcement officials see it as a move in the wrong direction. The new encryption will make it much harder for the police, even with a court order, to look into a phone for messages, photos, appointments or contact lists, they say.” – Wall Street Journal
When the U.S. government met with Apple last month to discuss their issues with the new encryption, they actually tried to use the “dead-child” scenario which Apple found “inflammatory.” As Apple pointed out in the meeting with the U.S. government, there are a number of other outlets for the government to find the information that they want.
But whether the U.S. government likes it or not, more companies are now switching to encrypting technology. Just this week, WhatsApp revealed that they will now be encrypting text messages sent from one Android phone to another.
As I wrote about yesterday, in one of the biggest shocks, AT&T is now even standing up to the U.S. government by supporting new rules on what data the government can take without a probable cause warrant.
“Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it. It’s not for me to do that.” – Tim Cook, Apple
Both Google and Apple are now installing encryption schemes with their latest software which prevent others from accessing user data stored on the phone when locked. They are not alone either in fighting back against the government as both Microsoft and Twitter have filed relatively recent and separate lawsuits against the U.S. government in which both companies ask the courts to decide what information must be handed over to the government.