Oct 23, 2017

FBI Failed To Access 7,000 Encrypted Mobile Devices Over The Last 11 Months

According to a Associated Press report, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation was unable to retrieve data from 6,900 mobile devices that attempted to access over the course of last 11 months. FBI director Christopher Wray made the comment while speaking at a conference over the weekend, acknowledging that there needs to be a balance between encryption and public safety.

While Wray didn’t specify what percentage of those devices were iPhones or iPads, but he says it’s a “huge, huge problem”, the devices in question could be connected to cases relating to counterterrorism, gangs, child exploitation, and more. He went on to explain there’s a balance that needs to be struck between public safety and encryption, as threats from homegrown extremists with the foreign terror  organizations keep increasing.

“To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem,” Wray said. “It impacts investigations across the board — narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.”

[....]“I get it, there’s a balance that needs to be struck between encryption and the importance of giving us the tools we need to keep the public safe,” Wray said.

“The threats that we face keep accumulating, they are complex, they are varied,” Wray said, describing threats from foreign terror organizations and homegrown extremists.

Encryption has been an issue between Apple and the FBI since last year when the two clashed over the unlocking of an iPhone 5c owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino. FBI took Apple to court in an attempt to force Apple to create a version of iOS that would disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically.

Ultimately, the FBI was unable to unlock the device without Apple’s help, as the company continues to make improvements to device security, the FBI is finding it harder to access the data it sees necessary. "Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one or the other only puts people and countries at greater risk."

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit NPR And NBC News

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