If you have a password on your smartphone, the new Apple and Android operating systems will encrypt your data so nobody can read it—Not Apple, not Google and not law enforcement.
Adi Kamdar, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said this move shows companies are realizing their users care about privacy.
“It is significant because privacy is becoming more of a competitive tool,” he says.
Kamdar says the encryption only applies to the data you keep on your phone. It doesn’t apply to data gathered by apps or that’s stored in the cloud.
Despite these work arounds, law enforcement officials are upset. Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, says in light of the Snowden revelations, he understands the need to protect privacy. But, he says, Google and Apple have gone too far.
“Two big tech providers are essentially creating sanctuary for people who are going to do harm,” says Hosko.
Hosko said lawmakers need to step-up and make laws that balance privacy and safety.