Google is set to build default encryption into its new Android fondleslabs in a bid to foil police forensics (and maybe to copy or catch up with Apple).
The security enhancement, reported by the Washington Post, follows Apple's release of iOS 8, which introduced broader encryption, and will ensure Google-powered devices will be equally attractive to those who value their privacy.
"On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode," Apple wrote on its website.
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data.
"So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Apple's stance may, however, not be technically correct. Apple, if forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski is correct: he's written that Apple's new arrangements offer "plausible deniability" but leave data like emails and photos open to access by police forensic tools.
Apple's old policy for extracting user data from iPhones for law enforcement: Come back with a warrant. Their new policy: Get lost.— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) September 18, 2014
"The move ... amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers," Zdziarski has blogged.
"Apple wants you to be able access your photos and other information from your desktop while the phone is locked – for ease of use. This, unfortunately, also opens up the capability for law enforcement to also use this mechanism to dump" photos, third party app data and iTunes media.
Apple previously said only its Mail app was protected by its encryption system. ®