Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Google has also been ordered to help unlock phones records show

Apple has been making headlines over their lack of assistance with federal agencies in their quest to unlock information on potential terrorism surrounding the San Bernardino shooting earlier this year,  refusing to give an encryption key to unlock an iPhone belonging to shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook. 
Now Google has gotten into the mix, having now uncovered cases involving the need for Google's assistance in investigations by the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Land Management. 
In these cases, it isn't clear whether or not Google actually provided assistance or not, which leads to a domino effect this Apple case is creating, even though the case against Apple was dropped this week. A spokesman for Google stated their disdain for increased pressures for companies like Google and Apple to bypass their security and privacy standards by saying, “We carefully scrutinize subpoenas and court orders to make sure they meet both the letter and spirit of the law,” a Google spokesman said. “However, we’ve never received an All Writs Act order like the one Apple recently fought that demands we build new tools that actively compromise our products’ security.... We would strongly object to such an order.”(WSJ). The problem with this being, Apple and Google have different circumstances. Apple manufactures their operating system and devices, Google simply manufactures their operating system, which is then put in other companies' devices. 
Issues surrounding privacy and security still remain, with the FBI able to unlock the iPhone from the San Bernardino case without Apple's help, and increasing number of cases against Apple now pending I believe this issue is only getting started. 
I for one, think companies shouldn't have to compromise their security standards and give the government them unlimited access to use on whatever cases they deem suitable. Encryption for one phone is encryption for them all, and that's not fair to other, law-abiding users. These cases set precedent for the future and I'd hate to see user privacies fly out the window. I can't see either side figuring out a solution anytime soon. With tensions so high in terms of terrorism, and companies firmly united in their inability to suitably aide them without damaging their company standards, both sides remain in a standoff. I will be following the news of this closely, as these cases impact our economy, government, and even our future day to day lives as technology users.

1 comment:

  1. I think the FBI gaining access to the encryption of Apple’s devices is a major violation of privacy for a number of reasons. First and foremost, if the FBI can access anyone’s iPhone without Apple’s discretion, the number of probes is going to increase dramatically because instead of pursuing other investigative tactics, the FBI is simply going to request subpoenas to get an in-depth view of the suspects phone. I think Apple acting as an intermediary would prevent against proactive searches and seizures. Similar to controversial stop-and-frisk tactics used by officers “randomly” of potential suspects on the streets, what’s going to stop the FBI from compiling records on targeted individuals. I foresee the FBI acting as an Acxiom type of company, except for individuals meeting a certain profile in order to proactively find criminals. The threat of terrorism is always going to be an unfortunate reality, and continuing to degrade our privacy under the veil of “protecting against terrorism” isn’t the correct plan of action by the government. I think in certain cases the FBI would be justified in examining a phone, but the nature of the technology it would be like opening Pandora’s box. I agree with you that this issue is just getting started as technology keeps improving, law enforcement agents are going to want access to the data and I think powerful companies like Apple and Google should be fighting the government in this regard.


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