Smartphones getting smarter

Police and investigators are frustrated with the newest technologies coming from Apple and Google. New advances in operating systems are making listening in on the “bad guys” basically impossible for law enforcement, even with warrants.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple brags on its website. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants.”

Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system has similar features, but isn’t as direct in its sales pitch. “Full device encryption occurs at first boot, using a unique key that never leaves the device.”

The so-called features of the newest phones like the Nexus 6 and the iPhones with iOS 8 operating systems, are a big concern to those in law enforcement.

In a speech last month, FBI Director James Comey warned, “Encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place. Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive.”

In layman’s terms encryption works as a digital lock and unless a person has access to the password to bypass the locks, chances are a person won’t be capable of “cracking” the lock.

The security features are designed with your personal information in mind: banking information, addresses and phone numbers. But that means law enforcement can’t “bug” a phone, warrant or not.

But have no worries, there are other ways to catch the bad guys, so don’t feel too bad for police. Planting malware to listen in has been used in some cases with valid court orders. There are plenty of other ways to go about slapping cuffs on criminals, the new smartphones just aren’t in their repertoire anymore.