by Elton Gomes
Apple is planning to launch a global web portal to address data requests from law enforcement agencies around the world. A web portal will make things much easier for agencies and Apple, and the company will junk its current method of aiding criminal investigations via a dedicated email account.
Apple has also said that it will be developing a team to help train law enforcement officers. The company said that the aims was to help smaller police forces and agencies that might not have sufficient resources as large organizations.
Apple estimates that it will launch the web portal by the end of this year. In addition to gaining access to user data, law enforcement agencies can also use the portal to track requests and obtain responsive data from the company. All agencies will have to submit lawful requests. The web portal will be available globally.
The San Bernardino case and unlocking an iPhone
Apple faced severe criticism after it denied to help the FBI in the San Bernardino shooting that took place in 2015. A federal judge asked Apple to help the FBI in unlocking an iPhone that belonged to Syed Farook, who was responsible for the shootings that left 14 dead. The judge asked Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the U.S. authorities. But Apple remained adamant and refused any assistance to the FBI. It was later reported that the FBI had to shell out $900,000 to hack the locked iPhone.
US Police barred from accessing cellphone records without warrant: Addressing privacy and law enforcement
An important issue at hand is the way law enforcement is dealing with privacy issues. In June 2018, a US supreme court ruling barred police from accessing cellphone records without obtaining a search warrant first. The landmark decision was a victory for advocates of privacy, but it also raised several questions on the future of privacy and the role of law enforcement.
As we move in to an environment heavily outlined by technology, it seems like the law needs some catching up to do in deciding the way privacy cases are treated.
Analysts at IHS Technology have predicted that the Internet of Things market will include 30 billion connected devices by 2020. Smart cars plying on roads will record every inch of kilometre we travel and at what speed. Smart homes will aid the police in knowing where to find its occupants. An increase in societal data mining means that surveillance will also increase. Apple developing a web portal could be a first step in realising this increase in surveillance.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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