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DEA complains they can't tap iMessage due to encryption

Apple's iMessage causing problems for the DEA, agents unable to obtain copies of messages

By: Trace Hagan from Apr 4, 2013 @ 14:29 CDT

CNET obtained a copy of an internal memo sent by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that complained about their inability to intercept iMessage messages. This is just the latest of law enforcement complaints that new technologies make tapping communication more difficult.


Apple's iMessage utilizes end-to-end encryption making it near impossible for DEA to obtain copies of the message. They were able to discover the iMessage issue after requesting a record of text messages from Verizon. When they received the copies, they realized that the user had utilized iMessage. "It became apparent that not all text messages were being captured."

FBI director Mueller:

There is a growing and dangerous gap between law enforcement's legal authority to conduct electronic surveillance, and its actual ability to conduct such surveillance. We must ensure that the laws by which we operate and which provide protection to individual privacy rights keep pace with new threats and new technology.

Should Apple be required to implement a method to allow federal agents legal access to iMessage communications?


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