It has been revealed by a District Attorney that Google can remotely unlock your smartphone, along with Apple, if they had to. In a court case in New York, the revelation came as it was announced that if a court order has been issued then as long as the device has not been encrypted, law enforcement will gain access to the device. In a report that covers various methods for law enforcement agencies to gain access to user’s devices without their permission, also explains how Apple can reset a locked phone remotely.
This comes as a worry and also sets a dangerous precedent. But as long as the device has encryption then it is no longer possible for companies, or anyone else with the ability, to access devices. With Apple and iPhones, since iOS 8 was released in September 2014, encryption for devices have been enabled by default. So as long as the user has set a passcode for their phone, then it is no longer possible for Apple to access the device without this code. But unfortunately this is not the case for Android and Google, which only enabled encryption by default in the latest build of the software, Android 6.0 Marshmallow which was only released last month. Even though this encryption which is now default on all latest versions of firmware, it is only confirmed that 0.3% of all users of Android are running the latest version. This means almost everybody is still susceptible to remote attacks.
There has been a long standing battle between law enforcement agencies and tech companies over the submission of user data. A legal and moral grey area lingers over the issue with both sides arguing over whether or not user data should be in then hands of anyone aside from the owner. Of course, from the law enforcement side, this information could be key in criminal cases. But then where would the line be drawn, with governments then using these means to snoop on citizens.
If you are concerned with your online data and its privacy, then consider using a VPN whenever you are online. No matter what device you use, you can protect your online presence by browsing the internet anonymously and safe in the knowledge that your data is protected. Sign up to Le VPN today and see how you can stay protected, as well as all the other benefits of using a VPN.
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