FBI: there were far fewer encrypted smartphones that hampered research




The American intelligence service said earlier that in 2017 there were a total of 7800 devices, the content of which could not be determined by the application of encryption. The service now admits that this is incorrect; it is probably a lot less devices.

The FBI has said in a statement that it has made programming errors, so that the number of smartphones whose content was out of range due to encryption was much higher than was actually the case. The service used three databases for this, with the same telephones being counted several times.

According to The Washington Post , it is probably a number between 1000 and 2000; the FBI says it is not yet able to give an accurate number of the encrypted phones that have been received and confiscated in the context of criminal investigations. Critics thought the communicated number of 7800 was remarkable, since according to the FBI in 2016 there were only 880 cases of telephones whose content was inaccessible due to encryption. It is not clear whether that number is correct.

An official of the FBI previously estimated that the actual number is about 1200, but according to sources of the newspaper, that figure is likely to change based on a new internal investigation, which may take several weeks.

Despite the wrong figure, the FBI repeats the seriousness of the problem. According to the service, the increasing use of encryption means that intelligence services and investigative organizations are increasingly in the dark about, among other things, the communication of suspects.


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