Late last week, we reported on the FBI's latest beef with Apple, as the company is soon to make encryption standard on its customer's iPhones. Perhaps not surprisingly, it's not just the FBI that's upset, but law enforcement in general. Since the FBI spoke out, some Bay Area police officials have spoken out as well, and they really don't like the direction that Apple's taking.
Given the major stink that's been raised around Apple's move, you might think that phones are an essential key to decipher most crimes, but San Francisco officer Albie Esparza does admit that not having access wouldn't be the end of the world: "Although it could impact investigations, there are other ways to obtain information."
Esparza goes on to say that smartphones can be a "personal lifeline" to crimes, as they sometimes contain a lot of information that can help a case progress, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that Apple's move will make very little difference in the grand scheme. Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney for the EFF, says, "When people are in that interrogation room, they're telling the police, 'Sure, you can open my phone'. This is probably true - even if someone knows they're guilty, they're not likely to refuse access to their phone in fear of raising suspicions even further.
The EFF goes on to state that phones rarely become a make-or-break part of a crime. Despite that being the case, law enforcement wants nothing more right now than to be able to gain access to your phone when it needs to, and its current battle against Apple, which almost seems like a cry in desperation, shows just how much law enforcement does rely on access to phones. Further, we can only imagine now how much access it has gained to our smartphones.
Nonetheless, while Apple's causing some major grief for law enforcement with its move to encrypt user data, it's highly unlikely that the company is doing it for that purpose. Instead, it wants to separate itself as much as possible from legal battles, and I can't blame it. As for Google, it's been revealed that the upcoming L version will follow Apple by encrypting all user data by default as well.