#CyberFLASH: Apple and Google slammed for encrypting data on new phones

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Law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S. say the introduction of better encryption on new Apple and Android cellphones could put lives at risk, but cryptology experts say they’re exaggerating the threat.

Both Apple and Google announced last week that their new operating systems will be encrypted by default, which will prevent anyone — including police — from accessing data stored on the phones.

On Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey accused the companies of marketing products that would let people put themselves beyond the law’s reach.

Comey cited child kidnapping and terrorism cases as situations in which quick access by authorities to information on cellphones could save lives.

Comey did not discuss specific cases that would have been more difficult for the FBI to investigate under the new policies, which involve only physical access to a suspect’s or victim’s phone when the owner is unable or unwilling to unlock it for authorities.

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