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Eric Holder: Apple, Google Not Giving Law Enforcement Access to Encrypted Data Is 'Worrisome'

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Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that Google and Apple's recent efforts to encrypt users' private online data is "worrisome" because it could keep law enforcement officers from doing their jobs.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

"It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy," Holder said during a speech at the Biannual Global Alliance Conference Against Child Sexual Abuse Online in Washington.

When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect them and to stop those who abuse children, Holder said.

Holder spoke as Apple, one of the world's largest technology companies, has already released software that will allow the encryption of personal online data. Google recently announced it will do the same.

Google's new Android L software will automatically protect customers' personal data so that it can only be accessed with a password, without which even Google won't be able to access user information, PC World reported. Apple's newly released iOS 8 software enables users to encrypt some of their information, if they choose to do so.

"We would hope that technology companies would be willing to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation," Holder said. He called it "worrisome" that companies would "thwart" the ability of law enforcement to do so.

Holder also echoed the remarks of FBI Director James Comey, who told reporters last month he's concerned technology companies are marketing products which could allow people "to place themselves beyond the law," PC World reported.

(H/T: PC World)

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