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Smartphone Privacy Debate

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If you’ve been watching smartphone/telecommunication news at all, then you are probably aware of the huge debate going on right now over smartphone privacy and encryption policies. And if you weren’t aware, well, now you are.

On Prepaid Reviews we mostly focus on new and emerging companies, phones and policies in the prepaid market as well as giving reviews (duh), tips and guides for prepaid users. However, occasionally something like this comes along that really has the potential to change the mobile phone industry, and it’s something worth keeping tabs on.

Here’s the backstory for those of you who don’t read the news:

Recently, Apple announced that their new iOS 8 will feature advanced encryption technology that will make it “not technically feasible for [Apple] to respond to government warrants for the extraction of data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.” Google’s new Android platform is expected to have similar capabilities.

Of course, the FBI and the government are up in arms about it, stating that removing the ability of the police and the government to access information via warrant puts people ‘beyond the law‘ and that Apple and Google need to rethink things.

Prior to this latest OS, government officials were able to ‘backdoor’ smartphones and other products by requesting (or demanding) companies unlock devices to gain information. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that police have to have a search warrant to search your phone, but it wasn’t always so.

Add to the confusion all of the leaks by Snowden about the NSA’s extensive snooping policies and even the promise of a warrant isn’t enough to make many feel like their private information is safe–hence the extensive encryption technology.

So, now you’re all caught up.

I’ve read a lot of articles on this topic, and the comments are probably the most interesting part, as the views are extremely polarized. Some people seem to be of the opinion that the government is in the wrong, and that having these encryption capabilities is long overdue. Others simply say that they don’t care if the government looks at their calls because it makes the country a little safer. And a few are claiming that it is all a marketing ploy and that it’s impossible to not have some sort of ‘backdoor’ from a company and programming perspective.

Instead of ranting on my personal views about the whole smartphone privacy issue, I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks. Do you feel like Apple and Google are going too far in not being able to provide access to the government? Is the FBI director right in claiming that such encryption policies put citizens ‘beyond the law?’ Let me know in the comments!