The FBI has reportedly known that in a vast majority of cases it investigates, the agency is able to unlock and gain access to user data on computer systems and phones. According to the agency’s general advice Jim Baker, the Federal Bureau of Investigation also able to access data from devices of local and condition police. In 2016, in over 80% of instances investigated, the bureau was able to unlock devices and get data.
In the past year, the FBI’s forensic analysis team has come across password/passcode-secured devices in 2,095 out of 6,814 cases, a mere 13%, Motherboard reported. In a public meeting on security, which happened on 11 November in Washington POWER, Baker reportedly disclosed that even within the relatively small percentage of two, 095 devices, the bureau was able to uncover devices in 1,210 cases. The agency was unable to unlock around 880 devices, demonstrating that in some 87% cases, it was still able to access user data.
The disclosures provide for light the FBI’s arguments on the need for backdoors on encryption and the worries it raised about “going dark”, during its warmed and most public fight with Apple earlier in the year. The facts, however, indicate that regardless of the FBI’s insistence how security can obstruct criminal research, the agency’s imperative need to push back security may well not be as essential as it claimed.
“These numbers demonstrate that even with encryption turned on by default on all newer iPhones and some Android phones, it is posing a problem in a relatively few instances — while that same encryption is presumably stopping a variety of crimes, ” said Kevin Bankston, the overseer of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Company.
An FBI spokesperson refrained from either confirming or denying the numbers explained by Baker at the meeting. “885 or 886 devices the FBI had not been able to access in [Fiscal Year 2016] does sound about right, ” the someone said, adding: “I would suggest that is barely an insignificant number.”