Law enforcement also has an advantage when it comes to digital devices. Despite claims from Apple, Google, and even the Department of Justice that smartphones are largely impenetrable, thousands of law enforcement agencies have the latest phone hacking tools to extract data.
Yossi Carmil, chief executive officer of Cellebrite, an Israeli company that has sold data extraction tools to more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies, including hundreds of small police departments across the US, said: Police today are faced with a situation of exploding data. Statuses. “The solutions are there. There is no real challenge to data access”.
It also makes it easier for police to access data stored in the cloud. Technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft regularly transfer customers’ personal data, such as photos, emails, contacts and text messages, to the authorities.
Between January 2013 and June 2020, Apple says it turned over the contents of tens of thousands of iCloud accounts to US law enforcement in 13,371 cases.
And on Friday, Apple said that in 2018 it unknowingly turned over to the Justice Department the phone records of congressional staffers, their families and at least two members of Congress, including Representative Adam. B. Schiff of California, currently chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The subpoena is part of the Trump administration’s investigation into leaks of classified information.
However, intercepting communications remains a problem for the police. While criminals used to talk through channels that were relatively simple to hit – like phone, email, and basic text messages – most now use encrypted messengers, but that’s not the case.
Two of the world’s most popular messaging services, Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s WhatsApp, use so-called end-to-end encryption, meaning only the sender and recipient can see the message. Neither company has even had access to their content, allowing Apple and Facebook to argue that they cannot hand them over to law enforcement.