According to a new report this morning a top official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message to Apple executives last month. The new encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn't be able to scour a suspect's phone, according to people who attended the meeting. Technology companies are pushing back more against government requests for cooperation and beefing up their use of encryption and Apple doesn't buy into the DOJ's message.
The Wall Street Journal report states that "law-enforcement officials see it as a move in the wrong direction. The new encryption will make it much harder for the police, even with a court order, to look into a phone for messages, photos, appointments or contact lists, they say. Even Apple itself, if served with a court order, won't have the key to decipher information encrypted on its iPhones."
According to the report, "Apple executives thought the dead-child scenario was inflammatory. They told the government officials law enforcement could obtain the same kind of information elsewhere, including from operators of telecommunications networks and from backup computers."
The report further noted that even AT&T on Monday challenged the legal framework investigators have long used to collect call logs and location information about suspects.
A CBS 60 Minute segment with FBI Director James Comey back in October revealed his views about internet surveillance in general and in context with Apple and Google's latest encryption technology specifically. Comey stated that "The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law, troubles me a lot."
In the end, the battle between Apple and the DOJ, according to the Wall Street Journal, "ended in a standoff," last month.