FBI Concerned About Apple, Google Phone Encrypition Tools

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has raised concerns with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. about smartphone encryption features they offer that put customer data outside the reach of law-enforcement agencies, FBI Director James Comey said.

“I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the contents” of someone’s mobile device, Comey told reporters in Washington today. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

Apple said last week that its new operating system for mobile devices is so protective of customer data that the company couldn’t comply with a government warrant even if it wanted to. Google also said earlier this month that it was making its encryption feature automatic after offering it as an option for more than three years.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, updated its privacy policy in an attempt to reassure users that their data is safe after the theft of celebrity photos from Apple iCloud accounts.

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on the FBI’s concerns, while a Google spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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