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Feds want to prevent Apple and Google from encrypting mobile data

Following the introduction of iOS 8, Apple CEO Tim Cook published a letter to the public that highlighted Apple’s efforts to keep private data secure and out of the hands of the government. Google also confirmed that Android L will ship with encryption out of the box. We already know that the FBI is worried what this might mean for national security and now the government may step in to put a stop to the tight controls promised by Google and Apple.

U.S. law enforcement officials are urging Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to give authorities access to smartphone data that the companies have decided to block, and are weighing whether to appeal to executives or seek congressional legislation. The new privacy features, announced two weeks ago by the California-based companies, will stymie investigations into crimes ranging from drug dealing to terrorism, law enforcement officials said. “This is a very bad idea,” said Cathy Lanier, chief of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, in an interview. Smartphone communication is “going to be the preferred method of the pedophile and the criminal. We are going to lose a lot of investigative opportunities.” The dispute is the latest flare-up that pits the federal government against the nation’s leading technology companies since National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed last year the extent of U.S. snooping on phone and Internet communications — and how companies cooperated.

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