The FBI are said to be concerned by plans from Apple and Google to do more to protect customers' privacy.
FBI boss James Comey has expressed his concern as the recent plans to enable encryption could potentially thwart law enforcement investigations. He said lives could depend on police forces continuing to get access to the data on devices used by criminals and terrorists.
In a briefing Mr Comey said: "I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid?' 'How come you can't do this thing?'"
His comments came in reaction to a decision by Apple to enable a file encryption system on its iOS software, for which it has no keys. This means it would not be able to comply with to help police get the data on those devices.
Mr Comey added: "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no-one in this country is beyond the law."
iOS data forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski also pointed out that Apple's encryption system would not stop police getting at data on portable devices. He felt that specifically weakening security systems just to aid police was a bad decision.
He said: "For the sake of privacy and overall security, the only logical solution is to make products as secure as possible, and let good detective work do the crime solving, rather than an easy button."
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