Smartphone makers and communications apps developers could feel the knock-on effects of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, as law and security officials in the US complain that modern encryption on devices puts them in the dark on terrorist communications.
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton has been most vocal about these issues. He took to the Sunday politics talk shows in the US to vent his frustration about law enforcement not having a back door into encrypted communications on devices like the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone or messaging apps like Facebook 's WhatsApp.
"These apps, these devices that now allow these terrorists to operate without fear of penetration by intelligence services," Bratton said on CBS show Face The Nation. "This is the first example of this."
End-to-end encryption means that a communication is scrambled on one device, transmitted and then unscrambled at the other end.
Bratton had previously said on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos that he didn't yet know what devices and apps -- if any -- the attackers had used in coordinating the Paris attacks.
Prior to the Paris attack, Apple CEO Tim Cook had already blasted UK plans to unlock encrypted communications. "If you halt or weaken encryption, the people that you hurt are not the folks that want to do bad things," the CEO told The Daily Telegraph.
In fact, there are already claims Daesh -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- used the dark web to coordinate the Paris attacks. The terror group is also thought to have developed its own encryption software.
What all this means at the moment is not fully clear. "We are not seeking specific legal authorities at this juncture. I'm certainly not proposing a specific remedy," NYPD boss Bratton told National Public Radio on Monday.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading