US Attorney General Eric Holder hopes the technology industry is willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the future with companies like Apple and Google pushing for data locks.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may have submitted his letter of resignation last week, but that doesn’t mean he’s mailing in the rest of his time in office.

He urged technology companies to continue granting law enforcement access to smartphone data. In his prepared remarks, Tuesday, he responded to new privacy features from technology giants like Google, and Apple, that could potentially challenge investigations into matters of child sex abuse.

He isn’t the only individual in law enforcement with concerns regarding Google and Apple’s new privacy features. Others have argued that the new features will make it difficult, or stymie investigations into crimes like drug trafficking, child sex abuse, and terrorism.

While law enforcement isn’t trying to take all information, this comes at a time when consumers are ultra-sensitive to anyone trying to take pieces and bits of their data, or personal information. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children.”

Some have argued that these new privacy features will do just that – prevent law enforcement from doing their job. The new features that are being talked about is greater encryption on mobile devices that have been the latest security feature pushed out by Google and Apple. Eric Holder is the highest ranking member of law enforcement to take such a stand against the new features and the tech giants.

The Justice Department is looking into the matter and they’re trying to figure out how the new systems, and encryption put forward by Google and Apple work and how the companies could possibly alter their encryption to make it accessible when its court ordered.

See Also: Apple’s new iOS 8 encryption makes iPhones and iPads “NSA-Proof”.

While Holder remarked on the matter, he didn’t say how exactly the Justice Department would change the companies’ minds because he did make clear in his remarks that he wanted a joint effort to occur and that it shouldn’t be a forced matter. In his view, it should be a matter that is done willfully, and that tech companies like Google and Apple should be eager to cooperate with the government.

However, while Apple and Google have also made it clear that they don’t want to protect the identity or crimes of criminals like sexual predators, they do however want to protect customer data from hackers, as well as the government.

Especially since the NSA spy revelations have been looming over customer data, and a recent iCloud breach, which resulted in private celebrity photos being leaked onto the internet.

See Also: Google: Android L devices will be “NSA-Proof” out-of the box.

Clearly, there is some middle ground that needs to be reached in the data protection world, and this is only the beginning of that debate.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Well, if the privacy of individuals wasn’t being abused, none of this would be happening.

    Strange how the very people who cause the problem now cry about the results. Sort of like the criminal who blames the homeowner for installing an alarm system.

    Hello?

  2. What he’s urging is tech giants to continue giving the LE community the ability to perform warrantless searches of personal information stored on these decices. Tisk, Tisk… You can still get the data cry baby, only difference now is you have to go to a judge, constitute the need, ie, demonstrate suspicion of criminal activity, and like the old days when Rights were intact, you’ll get that warrant meeting the requirements set forth within the law. Seems the LE community is a little taken aback by the backlash following the revelations and exposure of just how much latitude they’ve taken in stretching the limits of the law and the utter disregard for it. It is afterall, a natural reaction and they shouldn’t be surprised at all. Just do some good police work and you’ll have everything you need to make it all work in the end!

  3. This guy throws hot button threats out like a pandering fear monger.

    Those who surrender their liberties for security will ultimately lose both their liberty AND security.

    Don’t fall for fear mongering.

    • That’s the point. The Gov’t is scared of Apple and Google’s new system, because even with a warrant it’s not possible for Apple or Google to get at the users information. Right now it is, Google or Apple have a master key that can bypass the encryption, and with a warrant they can unlock a suspects phone and hand all their data to the government. With the new system Google and Apple is releasing, it won’t be possible for Google/Apple to get at this data, no matter what. So warrant or not, you can’t give what you can’t get. This protects Google and Apple, even if they got a warrant to release info, they simply can’t. This scares the government because it could protect definite bad guys, just as easily as it can protect the average Joe from government misuse and overstepping of their authority.

  4. I find it almost impossible to believe that the NSA will not have all the access it wants, whenever it wants. These Protestations are simply smoke designed to lure phone users that their data is truly private.

    • The NSA isn’t scared of this. They’re laughing. They have the necessary means to bypass the encryption and get at the data, it’s the lower law enforcement agencies that are scared because they don’t/won’t have access to the computational power and techniques the NSA has. The less we know about what the NSA can and can’t do the more they’ll be able to protect us from National Threats.

  5. Governments are pressuring large companies to give up customer data. These companies found and easy out by making it impossible to give data that they themselves can not access!

    • I used to work for a company that had a strict 2 week retention policy on email. No email was stored on servers beyond 2 weeks. If it was important, you were to make a local backup of that email. The idea being, if they were ever sued and forced to release emails from a certain date, they’d be unable to produce it because it simply wasn’t stored on the mail server. You can’t produce what you don’t have.

  6. That is pretty slick of our Attorney General as protesting against this invasion of our privacy makes us supportive of child molestation.

  7. This strategy has a name: Reverse Trembling Hand Nash Equilibrium, They are trying to lead you into a false sense of security once again…

  8. To those that complain that Apple or Google cannot unlock a phone or decrypt it, the answer is simple – the owner can do it. When compelled by a judge to unlock your device, you have two choices – unlock it or face contempt charges. My understanding is when faced with contempt a person can be locked up until they comply. That’s pretty strong coercive power. So the BS about being unable to unlock a phone in order to stop a kidnapping is more of the same theoretical argument they used to justify torture of terrorism suspects regarding “imminent” threats. It is a nice sounding theoretical argument that hasn’t ever occurred in reality. I think independent research showed that waterboarding never actually gave information that was not obtained by other means. Law enforcement and spooks just love to have lots or power to make their job easier. Unfortunately what guarantee does the public have that the power is being used currently only for correct reasons. And we have NO guarantee that it will always be used in future for correct reasons. I think the wiretapping and search and seizure laws need to be updated to reflect today’s technology. That way we can keep the Bill of Rights intact.

  9. “Clearly, there is some middle ground that needs to be reached in the data protection world, and this is only the beginning of that debate.” Why is it that the law always pulls the card that child porn is why they need access to my phone? Terrorist don’t go to a Verizon store or ATT get a IPhone or Android and blow stuff up. They buy burner phones. It is cheap to buy, and easy to get rid of. To me there is no middle group. It is either you grant the government access to your phone or not.

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