A new report has cited that if ordered by a court, Apple and Google are able to remotely change your passcode on devices running older versions of iOS or Android.
The document in question was prepared by the New York District Attorney’s Office, and examines the role of smartphone encryption and public safety.
Both Google and Apple have added full-disk encryption to iOS 8 and Android 5.0 and higher, which means that smartphones running either operating system or later versions will be inaccessible to either party.
However, a subsequent report cites that nearly 74.1% of Android devices haven’t been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop or 6.0 Marshmallow according to the Android Developer Dashboard; meaning that Google can remotely access any devices running older versions of the operating system if ordered to do so.
The New York DA’s Office is arguing, however, that newer devices which can encrypt information might pose a serious hindrance to law enforcement investigations.
An official statement read “Apple’s and Google’s decisions to enable full-disk encryption by default on smartphones means that law enforcement officials can no longer access evidence of crimes stored on smartphones, even though the officials have a search warrant issued by a neutral judge.”
The DA’s Office is hoping to pass a new bill that could see Apple and Google both forced to decrypt a smartphone if ordered to.
“The federal legislation would provide in substance that any smartphone manufactured, leased, or sold in the US must be able to be unlocked, or its data accessed, by the operating system designer,” the document reads, adding that compliance of this won’t require new tech or costly adjustments… It would require, simply, that designers and makers of operating systems not design or build them to be impregnable to lawful governmental searches.” the statement concluded.
What are your thoughts on Google’s ability to access 74.1% of all Android devices? Should authorities be able to access smartphone remotely? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!