The No. 2 official at the Justice Department recently warned top Apple executives that stronger encryption protections added to iPhones would lead to a horrific tragedy, such as a child dying, because police couldn't access a suspect's device, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The beefed up protections, Apple recently disclosed, mean that even when company officials are served with a court order, they will be unable to retrieve potentially crucial evidence such as photos, messages, or contacts stored on iPhones and iPads. Instead, the data can be accessed only by people who know the passcode that serves as the encryption key.
Justice Department officials wasted no time objecting to the changes and used the scenario of a child being kidnapped and murdered to drive home their claim that Apple was "marketing to criminals." According to the WSJ, Justice Department officials including Deputy Attorney General James Cole met with Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell and two other company employees on October 1. Reporters Devlin Barrett, Danny Yadron, and Daisuke Wakabayashi gave the following account, which they attributed to the recollections of people who attended.