Authorities are increasingly relying on data they request from Google, Apple, Facebook etc
Technology has always created a problem for the law system. The problem is even bigger now as technology evolves at a greater pace than ever and as it encroaches into more and more areas of our lives.Authorities, from police officers all the way to Supreme Court judges and politicians have to try to adjust existing laws to new situations for which they weren't designed for.
Unfortunately but understandably, that always leans towards giving said authorities more power and the citizens less.
This in a time when people are less and less in control of their data and their information and when corporations know more about them than the government ever did.
One perfect example of this, which is being debated, is asking companies, like Google and Apple, for passwords to phones often without warrants.
Even with a warrant, a password is more than just a way of accessing what's on the phone, it leads to access to email accounts, Facebook profiles, text messages, call logs and so on.
Even more worrying is that this only came about when Google refused to provide access to a phone to the FBI even with a warrant. The company didn't provide a reason, citing the privacy of the user.
The Wall Street Journal has a deeper look into the issue which is far from settled. Both Google and the FBI think they're right.
The only reason why we've heard about this case is because Google refused and the info was public. But Google, Apple and all other companies that handle our data receive this type of requests frequently.
Many times, these requests are accompanied by a court order, which prevents companies from alerting their users that their data is being requested by law enforcement agencies or to even acknowledge publicly that the requests have been made. Twitter has a history of fighting this type of requests when possible, but even it is forced to comply with the law.