Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is beefing up security in its iOS 8 operating system, which may worry police officials over the difficulties this may create in enforcing the law, according to a retired police official. Raymond Foster, a retired LAPD lieutenant, told FoxNews, “It absolutely puts another hurdle in the path of law enforcement.”
Apple may face opposition from Police
Foster added that Apple’s decision might be resisted by law enforcement agencies, who may ask Apple not to implement it. Foster, author of the book Police Technology, said that criminal activities such as drug dealer’s accounts or child pornography are often stored in the mobile devices.
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Apple has made it clear that requests for the information related to national security are not dropped in the device or account requests category, and are processed in a separate category altogether.
Foster said that iOS 8 security tightening will not affect the police wiretapping efforts as a wiretap is transferred to the service provider, and Apple is a device provider.
A couple of days ago, the iPhone maker published a statement on its website saying that customer data such as Photos, messages, emails, contacts and call history will be locked through a specific pass-code on iPhone and iPads running iOS 8. The statement also noted that even Apple will not be able to break the pass-code set by the user. This means that providing any user data to government officials will be technically impossible for Apple.
Civil Liberty Groups welcome the change
Apple Inc.’s move to increase the security following criticism over the celebrity’s iCloud Hack incident was supported by civil liberties groups. CEO Tim Cook denied allegations that it was Apple’s fault, but assured users that security has been tightened. Cook noted the company’s desire to protect its customer information in a letter, saying that Apple never joined hands with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any products and services. He said that Apple has never allowed access to its servers and will not do so in the future.
According to Apple, 93% of the requests that it receives from the police are on the behalf of customers, who want to have their lost phone tracked. Around 7% of the requests are “account requests,” where law enforcement is looking for customer account information. Only in around 0.00385% of the total requests has Apple disclosed user data to the government.