FBI Chief Slams Apple, Google for New Privacy Policies

The recent moves by Apple and Google to increase privacy protections on their smartphones has drawn strong criticism from FBI Director James Comey and other law enforcement officials. In a briefing on Thursday, Comey questioned why those companies would "market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law," according to a report in the Washington Post.

Last week, Apple revealed that its latest operating system update -- iOS 8 -- would prevent it from being able to bypass iPhone owners' passcode protections, even if the company was served with a warrant by law enforcement officials. Google followed up that announcement with its own privacy upgrade plans, stating that the next version of its Android operating system -- set for release in October -- will have encryption activated as a default.

Law enforcement officials have found themselves on the defensive in the wake of several recent electronic privacy developments. In addition to the moves by Apple and Google, those developments have included this summer's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that law enforcement officials generally need a warrant before they can search the contents of a suspect's cellphone.

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ItEUs worth noting that neither AppleEUs nor GoogleEUs encryption updates will ensure the privacy of data stored in the cloud. Law enforcement and government agencies can still issue warrants to access information stored on cloud servers. Data stored in the cloud also remains vulnerable to hacking attacks, as evidenced by the recent high-profile release of nude photos stolen from the iCloud backups of a number of celebrities.

Technology companies and law enforcement officials have been at odds since Edward Snowden's revelations about widespread electronic surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies. Apple, for instance, recently updated its privacy policies, which note that...

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