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Congress not likely to force iOS and Android decryption for the FBI

Published Oct 22nd, 2014 7:30PM EDT
iOS and Android Encryption

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Apple has more than once reminded customers it values their security and privacy and has been reassuring them that they won’t become the company’s “product” and that their data will be safely encrypted. Similarly, Google also said it will encrypt Android devices by default. Since then, the FBI and others have complained that Apple and Google will be basically helping bad guys get away with bad things thanks to encrypted devices.

FROM EARLIER: The FBI ratchets up its scare campaign over smartphone encryption

But, as Motherboard reports, Congress isn’t likely to order these companies to decrypt their phones for FBI or other governmental agencies.

“To FBI Director Comey and the Admin on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow,” California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said on Twitter. “The FBI and Justice Department must be more accountable — tough sell for them to now ask the American people for more surveillance power.”

Similarly, California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren said FBI director James Comey’s proposal — that “Congress might have to force” companies to decrypt devices if they don’t remove encryption from iOS and Android willingly — would have “zero chance” of passing.

The FBI might not be the only entity worried about Apple’s encryption. Only recently, a complex phishing scheme has been put in motion in China, with the goal of collecting Apple ID credentials from unsuspecting users that would allow hackers and/or agencies to get into a person’s device without having to ask for Apple to decrypt it. It’s not clear who targeted Apple with that particular cyber attack.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.