D.A.’s Office Releases Fourth Annual Report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today hosted the 9th Annual Manhattan D.A. Financial Crimes and Cybersecurity Symposium at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Among other distinguished speakers and guests, District Attorney Vance welcomed FBI Director Christopher Wray, U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, Paris Prosecutor François Molins, City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson, NYS Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, and NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism John Miller.
The D.A.’s annual symposium brings together global leaders in government, law enforcement, finance,cybersecurity, and technology to exchange threat intelligence, form new partnerships, and share industry insights. More than 350 guests representing 160 entities across eight countries attended this year’s symposium.
Report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety
At the symposium, the D.A.’s Office released the fourth edition of its annual report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety. The Report documents how “warrant-proof” smartphone encryption continues to impede justice for victims of crime, summarizes the “cat and mouse” game involving lawful hacking workarounds, provides an overview of jurisprudential and international developments, and concludes that federal legislation is necessary to “reconcile privacy interests with the need for judicially-sanctioned access in appropriate cases.”
According to the Report:
- From May 2018 through August 2018, the Manhattan D.A. Cyber Lab received 589 mobile devices in connection with live criminal investigations. 366 (or 62%) were passcode-locked upon arrival at the Lab. Of those 366 devices, 165 remain inaccessible despite court-ordered warrants to search the devices.
- During this period, 21% of the locked devices pertained to sex crimes. 36% pertained to cybercrime, identity theft, and fraud.
- In 17 cases, the D.A.’s Office has used smartphone evidence to exonerate or reduce charges against individuals accused of crimes.
The full report is available here.