FBI statistics "Grossly inflated" investigatis blocked by encrypted smartphes

The US Federal Bureau of Investigati provided Cgress with "grossly inflated" statistics the number of electric devices it could not access because of encrypti, reports The Washingt Post .

Last year, the FBI claimed to have been stuck nearly 7,800 devices that were related to crimes, but the actual number of devices that were inaccessible is smaller, closer to 1,000 to 2,000. The FBI discovered an error in the method used to count encrypted smartphes last mth, and has not yet completed a full internal audit to determine the correct number.

"The FBI's initial assessment is that programming errors have resulted in significant over-counting of reported mobile devices," the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. The office said the problem came from the use of three separate databases that led to repeated counting of the same phes. The tests of the methodology cducted in April 2016 did not detect the defect, according to people familiar with the work.

The FBI's inflated figures are problematic because FBI director Christopher Wray used these statistics several times to warn. the dangers of criminals using encrypti to "go dark" and evade law enforcement supervisi.

Last October, for example, Mr. Wray stated that the inability to access so many encrypted smartphes was a major problem. "To say the least, it's a huge problem," said Wray. "This has an impact investigatis in all areas …

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