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Phone crypto shut FBI out of 7,000 devices, complains chief g-man


The FBI has been locked out of almost 7,000 seized mobile phones thanks to encryption, director Christopher Wray has said.

Speaking at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia in the US, Gray lamented that device encryption kept the g-men out of “more than 6,900, that’s six thousand nine hundred, mobile devices … even though we had the legal authority to do so.”

"It impacts investigations across the board: narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation," he added.

Device encryption, where a mobile phone encrypts information stored on it, is a useful security measure in cases where phones are stolen. However, if a device owner arrested by police refuses to decrypt it, cops would have to crack the device to read messages stored on it.

The problem does not arise in the UK, where it is a criminal offence to refuse to give your password to State investigators.

Gray later added...(continued)

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