Security agencies condemn use of encryption on iPhone 6

One of the unintended consequences of NSA over-reach in scooping up so much data. Another reason to buy an iPhone?

Apple declined to comment. But officials inside the intelligence agencies, while letting the FBI make the public protests, say they fear the company’s move is the first of several new technologies that are clearly designed to defeat not only the NSA, but any court orders to turn over information to intelligence agencies. They liken Apple’s move to the early days of Swiss banking, when secret accounts were set up precisely to allow national laws to be evaded.

“Terrorists will figure this out,” along with savvy criminals and paranoid dictators, one senior official predicted, and keep their data just on the iPhone 6. Another said, “It’s like taking out an ad that says, ‘Here’s how to avoid surveillance – even legal surveillance.’”

The move raises a critical issue, the intelligence officials say: Who decides what kind of data the government can access? Until now, those decisions have largely been a matter for Congress, which passed the Communications Assistance to for Law Enforcement Act in 1994, requiring telecommunications companies to build into their systems an ability to carry out a wiretap order if presented with one. But despite intense debate about whether it should be expanded to cover email and other content, it has not been updated, and it does not cover content contained in a smartphone.

Inside Apple and Google, company executives say the U.S. government brought these changes on itself. The revelations by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden not only killed recent efforts to expand the law, it made nations around the world suspicious that every piece of American hardware and software – from phones to servers made by Cisco Systems – have “back doors” for U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

Surviving in the global marketplace – especially in places like China, Brazil and Germany – depends on convincing consumers that their data is secure.

Security agencies condemn use of encryption on iPhone 6 – The Globe and Mail.