Google’s new Android phones to automatically lock data from police

Like the iPhone 6, Google’s new Android phones and tablets will automatically lock, data so no one — including government officials with a warrant — would be able to break in, The Hill has confirmed.

The automatic encryption would lock people’s emails, photos, texts and other data from anyone who does not have a passcode to enter. Many Android users can currently take steps to lock their data, but few have done so on their own.

It would lock out thieves as well as police and other government agents, who would seemingly be unable to collect people’s messages even with a warrant, since it would not be technically possible.

The news first reported by The Washington Post comes just a day after Apple announced that iPhones on its new operating system would automatically be encrypted to keep out the prying eyes of thieves or government agents.

“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement," a Google representative told The Hill in a statement on Friday. "As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on.”

The Android platform is the world’s most popular smartphone operating system. Along with Apple’s news, the announcement means that the vast majority of new smartphones will automatically be locked to prevent people’s data from being stolen or accessed by anyone without a password.

Tech companies have suffered from public concerns about privacy since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks last year showed that the National Security Agency was tapping into people’s communications to nab emails, chats and other communications to target foreigners.

— This story was updated at 10:21 a.m.