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Law Enforcement: “Stop Encryption — We Can’t Snoop!”

Written by Gary North on October 1, 2014

The  law enforcement agencies are miffed at Google and Apple for having made it far harder for the snoopers to snoop.  The old law of economics holds up: “When prices rise, the quantity demanded falls.” The feds demand — at the older, lower prices — but no one responds.

U.S. law enforcement officials are urging Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) 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.

They need legislation. This means they are stymied. They can break the law, of course, and they will. They are law-enforcement. But the cost has risen.

“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.”

I like this: “We are going to lose a lot of investigative opportunities.” Yes, Ms. Lanier, you will. That is why Google and Apple added the encryption. Watch their competitors imitate them. “Want to reduce investigative opportunities? Buy our latest model!”

U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials are trying to understand how the new Apple and Google Android systems work and how the companies could change the encryption to make it accessible when court ordered.

By the time they figure it out, encryption 2.0 will be in the new iPhones.

Beyond lobbying the companies, there is little law enforcement can do without congressional action.

I love this phrase: “congressional action.” It’s right up there with “giant shrimp.”

Apple described the new measures on Sept. 17 on its website, noting that it can no longer bypass customers’ passcodes and “therefore cannot access this data.” Apple has in the past cooperated with court orders and unlocked phones for law enforcement or provided data from its systems.

The days of NSA’s wine and roses are over. Prices just rose.

This is just getting started. The culture of submission in Silicon Valley has reversed.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey entered the debate last week, telling reporters that he opposed the companies’ decision. He said the FBI was working to get them to change the policies.

“What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” Comey said.

The good old days are gone.

A half-dozen police and federal officials interviewed said that Apple, in particular, was taking an aggressive posture on the issue.

The good old days are gone.

Following the Snowden revelations over the National Security Agency’s data collection, Google, Apple and other tech giants in January got permission to disclose more about government orders for customer data. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) and Facebook Inc. (FB), had filed motions with the secret court that oversees spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act asking to be able to publish details.

The good old days are gone.

The price of snooping will rise. The quantity demanded will fall.

The good old days are gone.

Continue Reading on www.bloomberg.com

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14 thoughts on “Law Enforcement: “Stop Encryption — We Can’t Snoop!”

  1. michael forshaw says:

    I love it…..the cops are out of control in so many aspects today…..we need to regain our rights and privacy as citizens!!!

  2. Grumpy3625 says:

    “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” Comey said. I don't know about you but this statement leaped off the page for me. This, apparently, is how the law enforcement agencies see us……as criminals.
    Read more at http://teapartyeconomist.com/2014/10/01/law-enfor

  3. DoctorBob says:

    So now we have our government demanding Congressional action that we be stripped of our privacy rights? Why do I get this creepy-crawly sensation at the back of my neck when I read that?

  4. Grumpy3625 says:

    Know what you mean but maybe this starts a fire that they can't put out. I'm going to take a positive attitude.

  5. The Constitution Still Stands, The bastards need a Warrant.
    Otherwise it is breaking and entering, theft, extortion and worse.
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Encrypt and make life miserable for the crooks in Blue.

  6. A few things are blatantly obvious and need to be made clear to all. The author failed to catch a few windfall omissions here.
    1) Chief Lanier, as a police chief, should be familiar with 'burner' phones – low-cost smart phones with prepaid time. Pay cash, and use 'em and toss 'em. THAT is what her pedophiles and drug dealers are using. NOT iPhones and Androids. Those are too expensive for a phone you may need to toss down a sewer.
    2) Director Comey is either full of beans or just shilling. These companies are marketing nothing with the intent of helping people place themselves beyond the law. They are marketing a product that permits law-abiding citizens to put up a barrier against unwarranted and baseless – aka ILLEGAL – searches and seizures of their private communications, photos, location records, etc. None of which is government's business without a Constitutionally issued search warrant.

  7. It's just the economy, stupid. If there's a huge demand for a product, someone will produce it. If there's no demand for a product, it will fall out of the market entirely. Government is already reducing demand for itself. How much longer until we just go on about our business without it? It's possible, between jury nullifications, state nullifications, non-compliance by citizens (like gun owners mysteriously NOT registering their arms as demanded by some states), and other 'resistance' actions, that government will have to cut back to basic functions. When Congress feels the pain, they will stop voting to fund all the illicit, surreptitious, and distasteful activities of the agencies they created.

  8. "allow people to place themselves beyond the law" Why not, our government does it all the time, from the very top"Obama" all the way down. They are not allowed to profile certain people, so they go for the whole apple. And thats their own fault for being politically correct! Now go out and do real investigative work for a change.

  9. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” Comey said.

    It places people "beyond the law enforcement's illegal activities" — It does not place the people beyond the law. Law enforcement seems to have forgotten that they need a warrant, based on probable cause, to listen in to "the people's" communications.

  10. Public Citizen says:

    “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” Comey said.
    A careful disection of the thought process behind that statement reveals the basically lawless attitude of those who are in "Law Enforcement as opposed to "Policeing".
    Law Enforcement has their focus on "enforcement at any cost" even if it means the ignoring of the statutory law and Constitutional Guarantees that have required the oversight of the courts and the proving to those courts the reason why someones "books and papers" should be pawed through by some mouth breather looking for any infraction to provide an excuse for heavy handed enforcement activity.
    The activities being taken by Google, Apple, and other developers of technology are merely restoring the safeguards guaranteed by our Chartering Documents that have been routinely violated by those whose agend is "control and obedience at any price". Legislative action willb e met with legal action because any legislation will be an attempt to dilute, disarm, and circumvent the Constitution. In addition, the legislative process moves with glacial slowness with respect to dealing with emerging and advancing technologies. Legislation will always be behind the curve in this area because it is only capable of reactive response. The only way to have pro-active input is to be involved in the non-governmental committees that are setting the standards that will be implemented by the various business entities developing these new technologies.
    The response by Google, Apple, et.all in developing these new security features is not just making it more difficult for "law enforcement' to engage in illegal snooping it is making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to the information contained on these devices, which I believe is the chief reason for the deployment of these technologies.

  11. They're doing this to cut their costs.

    Leaving encryption keys solely with the consumer means they can send out a form letter "sorry, we can't decrypt customer-encrypted data" in reply to any subpoena.

    Saves them the time & trouble of working for free for a 3rd party.

  12. Good for Apple.

  13. Obama comes along and we now have Americans pitted against each other more so than ever in our History. He has did what he said he was going to do Change us- we just assumed it was going to be for the better. Suckers we is. Now is time to do a 180 vote Conservatives and bring Satin to his knees and back to Hell!

  14. richard holmes says:

    The companies are not allowing people to place themselves above the law The companies are allowing people to preserve their privacy. The argument the police give is just an excuse to continue their unlawful surveillance of everyone for their GESTAPO government.