Bitcoin and encryption: a race between criminals and the FBI
Law enforcement also has an advantage when they get their hands on digital devices. Despite claims from Apple, Google and even the Department of Justice that smartphones are largely impenetrable, thousands of law enforcement agencies have tools capable of infiltrating the latest phones to extract data.
“Police are now facing a data explosion situation,” said Yossi Carmil, managing director of Cellebrite, an Israeli company that has sold data mining tools to more than 5,000 organizations responsible for the data mining. law enforcement, including hundreds of small police departments across the United States. States. “The solutions are there. There is no real challenge in accessing the data.
Police also have an easier time accessing data stored in the cloud. Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft routinely pass customers’ personal data, such as photographs, emails, contacts, and text messages, to authorities with a warrant.
From January 2013 to June 2020, Apple said, it turned over the contents of tens of thousands of iCloud accounts to U.S. law enforcement in 13,371 cases.
And on Friday, Apple said that in 2018, it unknowingly turned over to the Justice Department the phone records of Congressional staff, their families, and at least two members of Congress, including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The summons was part of an investigation by the Trump administration into leaked classified information.
However, the interception of communications remained a troublesome problem for the police. While criminals spoke on relatively easy-to-operate channels like basic phones, emails, and texts, most now use encrypted messaging, which they don’t.
Two of the world’s most popular messaging services, Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s WhatsApp, use what’s called end-to-end encryption, which means only the sender and recipient can see messages. Even companies do not have access to their content, which allows Apple and Facebook to claim that they cannot turn it over to law enforcement.