In the last 12 months from September 2014 to October 2015, a total of 111 criminal cases in Manhattan went unsolved because of the prosecuting team's inability to obtain evidence against suspects stored in their fully encrypted mobile phones.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance points his finger at Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of working against criminal prosecution by implementing full encryption on its newest iPhones and preventing investigation authorities from accessing the contents of these phones from afar.

In a 42-page white paper, Vance details how phone encryption by companies such as Apple and Google are a deterrent in solving crimes and detaining criminals. Vance says the 111 unsolved cases in the past year included homicide, attempted murder, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, assault and robbery.

"Because information stored on devices is so often probative, it is reasonable to believe that in many of these cases the data that is out of reach of law enforcement would have been relevant to the case and to the investigation of additional crimes or perpetrators," Vancy says (PDF).

He also points out certain cases where the prosecutors were successful in sending a criminal behind bars because of evidence obtained from iOS and Android devices, such as one where the victim of a shooting was able to record the entire ordeal on his iPhone without a passcode. Vance also cites a child pornography case where a forensics expert was able to hack into a suspect's iPhone and Android tablet and found several pictures of child pornography.

Vance's solution, he says, is not a backdoor, but a way for authorities to remotely access a phone's contents with a properly issued warrant from the court — which, for all intents and purposes, is still a backdoor. Apple and Google's encryption technology, which is fitted into all phones fitted with iOS 8 and Android Lollipop and above, prevents everyone, including Apple and Google themselves, except the owner from accessing the data on his phone.

Both companies seem to be staunch on their stand against giving authorities some form of access to user content. As Apple CEO Tim Cook put it, opening a backdoor for the good guys will inevitably open a backdoor for everyone else, including the crooks and criminals they want to catch, hence putting the public at even more danger by allowing their private data and security open for the pilfering.

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