Apple Inc. said they are working on a new security feature that could make it harder for law enforcement agencies to retrieve data from iPhone’s during investigations.
The new software feature, named USB Restricted Mode will disable the phone’s USB port from being used for anything other than charging an hour after the device has been locked. This would prevent hackers, police and other officials from accessing the data on the iPhone via its iPhone via its Lightning port an hour after a phone is last unlocked.
“We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data,” Apple said in a statement.
“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”
The new update has ignited tensions between law enforcement agencies and Apple. In 2016, the U.S. Justice Department had a rift with Apple when the company refused to unloack a mass shooter’s iPhone to retrieve a data.
If any agency wants to gain access to an iPhone, there are very few options left with them, even if they have a warrant. As the data in the iPhone is encrypted, it cannot be pulled out without cooperation from the company or the phone’s owner.
“If we go back to the situation where we again don’t have access, now we know directly all the evidence we’ve lost and all the kids we can’t put into a position of safety,” said Chuck Cohen, head of Indiana State Police task force on internet crimes against children.