Smartphone Encryption Is A Luxury

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This past year, a team of technology specialists cautioned against providing law enforcement particular access to encrypted cell phone. They explained this exceptional access would “undermine and undo” the tech industry’s attempts to bolster digital safety.

The milestone paper addressed a battle between technology companies and the authorities that was brewing for some time. When Apple along with the FBI confronted in court afterwards, computer specialists and civil-rights groups hurried to defend Apple since it resisted a federal judge’s order to bypass its security attributes. The specialists stated that cooperating with law enforcement could place smartphone users at heightened risk of snooping from hackers and the authorities.

That is definitely true for the thousands of millions of iPhone consumers from the USA, whose phone now safeguard their information with powerful encryption: A concession to the government’s drive for particular access to encrypted information could be a concrete step backward for all those users’ privacy.

However, for all the remaining American smartphone consumers, powerful data encryption wasn’t really an alternative. Most Android phones do not encrypt the information that is stored on the device, and most come with messaging solutions which don’t encrypt data that is sent back and forth between devices.

Contrary to iPhones, which can be exclusively manufactured by Apple, Android phones are created by many distinct manufacturers. That has made it far harder to get Google–the firm that designs Android software–to flip on phone encryption.

A number of the devices that operate Android software have obsolete or cheap hardware which cannot handle constant encryption and decryption. Google recently demanded that new Android phone encrypted cell phone information by default but exempted slower (and therefore cheaper) phones, which makes encryption a de-facto luxury attribute.

(Apple sells its lowest present iPhone for $400; fresh Android phones are readily available for as cheap as $30.)
This disparity affects many smartphone users at the U.S. Based on two recent data from com Score, a company which studies technology usage, roughly 53 percent of the 198.5 million smartphone owners at the U.S. utilize Android phones. That is about 105 million individuals.

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