Police: New Apple technology will delay justice in DC area

WTOP | 9/13/2017 | Staff
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WASHINGTON — Apple’s new security features will make it harder for local police to retrieve digital evidence they need to solve crimes.

While great for consumers, without the ability to bypass enhanced security such as facial recognition, investigators said it will delay justice.

Face - ID - Future - Smartphones - Information

“Face ID is the future of how we unlock our smartphones and protect our sensitive information,” said Apple senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller during the tech giant’s announcement Tuesday, Sept. 12.

But as Apple fans delighted in the new suite of products including the debut of the iPhone X, law enforcement let out a collective sigh.

Law - Enforcement - Job - Community - Detective

“It’s very frustrating for law enforcement because it makes our job much more difficult to support the community,” said Detective Jason Friedman, who works in the Fairfax County Police computer forensics department. The biggest issue, he said, is the latest operating system, IOS 11.

“Most of the forensics community in law enforcement has known for a while, through the Apple IOS 11 betas, that security was going to be even more difficult and hamper law enforcement’s ability to extract data,” he said.

WTOP - Story - July - Investigators - Maryland

WTOP broke the story in July that investigators across Maryland are experiencing monthslong backlogs in digital forensic labs because of the time it takes to comb through the tremendous volume of evidence contained on any single device.

However, if investigators cannot access the phone’s data, or are delayed in doing so, justice could be on hold indefinitely.

Situation - Case - Investigators - Fairfax - County

That’s currently the situation with a case investigators are working on in Fairfax County.

“There was actually an iPad and we couldn’t get into it, and it’s a very serious case … We’re going to have wait for a method, if there ever is one, in order to bypass the security to obtain data from the iPad,” Friedman said. He could not elaborate on the nature of the crime.

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