Apple Accused Of Protecting Child Molesters & Criminals
Apple has been accused of protecting child molesters while also deliberately hampering Australian Police officers investigating serious crimes.
The big US tech Company has refused 399 requests from Australian security agencies and police, for information on the owners of Apple iPhones with one detective telling SmartOffice that the Company is a “law onto themselves”.
Known for their arrogance Apple management in Australia are set to be challenged by the Federal Government who are not prepared to put up with Apple’s attitude to fighting crime and terrorism.
Australian agencies — including counter-terrorism and child-abuse units in state police forces are fed up with the actions of Apple Australia executives who appear to more than happy to protect the interests of a child molester than work with authorities to apprehend criminals.
While Apple will provide basic information such as identities and details of owners of their products — described as “non-content data” — in 299 cases they are refusing to supply access to encrypted data.
iPhones are encrypted and if passcodes are not handed over police must rely on owners giving up the code.
The Australian newspaper recently revealed that in Queensland, two crime-fighting agencies were “significantly hampered” when trying to get into passcode-protected Apple products during a child-abuse investigation when the alleged offender, who held a blue card allowing him to work with children, refused to help detectives access them.
The man was allegedly found with child pornography by Queensland Police’s Taskforce Argos last year, and was accused of getting at least one child to perform sexual acts via Skype.
Investigators were unable to access all of his devices — including an iPhone and an iPad — when he refused to provide his passcodes in a Crime and Corruption Commission “star chamber” hearing. Apple refused to help the investigators.
He was later jailed for contempt in February when Supreme Court judge David Boddice handed down an eight-month sentence.
“The refusal to answer has impeded a very important aspect of the investigation, which would ultimately lead to the identification of potential young victims who may have been the subject of inappropriate sexual contact,” Justice Boddice said.
Another Queensland man, a convicted drug trafficker, was jailed in August by a Gladstone magistrate after refusing to give police the passcode to his phone.
A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis, who met Apple representatives over the proposed new laws in July, said encrypted communications “should not justify companies providing a safe haven for serious and violent criminals”.
“Most Australians would expect that communications and technology companies operating in Australia have an obligation to assist with investigations, disruptions, and prosecutions of criminals in Australia, including paedophiles and terrorists,” the spokesman said yesterday.
In the past Apple has often refused to provide a “backdoor” for police and security agencies, and its legal battle last year with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation over its refusal to break the encryption of the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook created headlines worldwide.