The article frames many of these requests as being requests for the customer's password, but it can't be that simple. It mentions briefly that Microsoft and RIM deny ever having access to customers' passwords and thus aren't involved, but Google and Apple don't likely have access to their customers' device passcodes either. There have been many famous cases of governments pressuring RIM to allow access to normally encrypted data in-transit from BlackBerry devices.
With physical access to the device the Bureau is clearly capable of dumping the data on it and reading it, but that data may be encrypted, and the passcode is required in order to obtain the encryption key. In such cases, without the key the Bureau would be left with "brute force" decryption, which is extremely time- and resource-consuming.
The companies are often hesitant to cooperate, even if the government has a proper search warrant. The customer themselves may decline to provide a password under subpoena under the Fifth Amendment's protection against forcible self-incrimination. Often the FBI requests assistance in remotely breaking into devices still in the customer's possession.
The featured case in the story involves the Samsung Galaxy belonging to Dante Dears, founding member of the "Pimpin' Hoes Daily (PhD)" gang. Mr Dears is on parole.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.