With technology advancing, the security and privacy that a user can enjoy on their mobile phone is also increasing. Lately, mobile phones which are passcode-protected have become like an unbreakable safe, according to Clark County Assistant District Attorney, Christopher Lalli.
It is now impossible to unlock newly updated iPhone and Android phones due to some recent upgrades to the encryption on Apple and Google software. Therefore, even if law officials have a warrant to search the mobile phone, they can’t do it.
Apple devices with a passcode and the iOS 8 or iOS 9 operating systems can no longer be unlocked even by Apple itself. This causes quite a hindrance to law officials, because they are unable to access data such as call records, contact list, photos etc.
Both Apple and Google have faced a lot of criticism with the decision to enhance the encryption on mobile phones. Law officials feel that this decision has give criminals a lot of leverage and they are able to hide criminal activity much more easily. According to Sheriff Joe Lombardo, this feature has become a setback for many investigations. Steve Wolfson, the District Attorney even sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to voice his concerns regarding this serious matter.
“Criminals will go free and the safety of all of our citizens will be diminished,” he wrote.
With the passage of time, electronic devices have become a key tool to cracking most of the investigations.
Taking a look at the other side of the story gives us Google and Apple’s perspective. As technology giants, they are only trying to serve their customers better by offering them heightened privacy and security. After the Edward Snowden incident, where classified government information was leaked, privacy became a major concern; so they did what they had to do. With the launch of iOS 8 encrypting became a default action by Apple.
However, there are some advocates who do question the seriousness of this matter and feel that there are many other ways to get the same information such as phone company records, personal computers or backup.
Lalli said that though not being able to access potential evidence may be frustrating for the investigators, but it’s not something that can completely hamper the entire investigation; there are always ways to work around the matter, as nothing can stop the law.