Apple is stepping up its encryption protocol for iOS 8, as well as encrypting messages — which means that without the passcode, law enforcement can’t read messages or easily hack your phone, warrant or not. And Apple can’t help them do it, because they’re not storing encryption keys.
However, the plus side of that — as Apple points out — is that better security means fewer privacy crimes, such as the iCloud hacking fiasco. To that end, they’re also communicating more effectively about security when using third-party apps and other ways to protect yourself.
That has the DOJ mad. Why? Because it will make it even harder to serve warrants without some sort of back-door access.
The DOJ didn’t stop at “we don’t approve,” though. Deputy Attorney General James Cole told Apple executives in a closed-door meeting that they’re advertising to criminals, and because of their encryption, “a child would die.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone.”
According to Business Insider, that didn’t go over well:
Apple was reportedly offended by the DOJ’s nightmare scenario. The meeting was unproductive for both parties.
And it’s doubtful they’ll back off their positions on encryption and privacy. Part of an open letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook to all customers states,
Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.
Apple maintains they can’t create a backdoor that can’t be exploited by the bad guys or for the wrong reasons, while law enforcement thinks that investigations will be slowed. This shows that law enforcement is often reactive, thinking of crime solving statistics rather than crime prevention. After all, the more secure devices are, the harder it will be to hack them.