Will criminals switch to iPhones just because voice and text conversations are encrypted by default? Governments all over the world have been trying to tell us that ever since Apple started encrypting their devices and services. It looks like criminals are aware of the advantages of owning a new iPhone, which one unnamed inmate recently likened to a “gift from God,:
Ironically, though, the prisoner made that remark during a phone conversation that was intercepted by New York authorities last year.
According to Reuters, the iPhone is becoming the “device of choice” for some criminals and is replacing throwaway phones. These details come from a court filing from three law enforcement groups including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Reuters says. Furthermore, the groups told a judge overseeing Apple’s fight with the U.S. Department of Justice that there are “numerous instances” where bad guys switched to iPhones for securing their communications. The groups did not single out any individual for the practice.
The law enforcement groups added that Apple’s stance on encryption endangers investigations across the country, but they did say that the iPhone maker turned over data in some other instances. Apple’s help even cleared an innocent man suspected of a homicide, they said.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the FBI is right to demand backdoors in the form of special software from any company, Apple included. While law enforcement groups are supporting the FBI in the San Bernardino shooting case, a large number of tech companies are backing up Apple in court and have filed amicus briefs of their own.