U.S. Justice Department official says encrypted iPhones could mean ‘a child would die’

BY Evan Selleck

Published 19 Nov 2014

image iPhone 6s

As Apple has buckled down on securing iOS-based devices, thanks to new levels of encryption, the United States government and many different agencies have raised their concerns.

A new report published on Wednesday, November 19, points to a lengthy comment made by the “No. 2 official at the Justice Department,” which, quite blunt, notes that Apple’s encryption for their iPhones could lead to a tragedy of grave proportions. According to those who attended the meeting where this comment was made, who remained anonymous, the official also said that locked iPhones means, “A child would die,” all because police are not able to scour through a perpetrator’s iPhone.

This meeting, according to the report, took place between Justice Department officials and executives at Apple at some point during the month of October.

The official at the meeting is actually echoing what has been said in the past, both by the United States Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Both individuals have stated, on multiple occasions, that the new level of encryption in Apple’s iPhones (and Google’s Android devices, with the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop) can interfere to massive levels with law enforcement agents

The report states that the Apple executives at the meeting took the latest bombastic remarks from the Justice Department to be “inflammatory,” and that the law enforcement agents could ascertain the information they would be seeking in a situation like that from other sources, including cellular carriers.

Apple’s own moves in this area have been to publicly address the security concerns of the consumers that buy Apple products, going so far as to publish a section on the Apple website dedicated to privacy. It would seem, then, that neither side is going to back down from the position they are currently in any time soon.

[via The Wall Street Journal]