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DT Daily: FBI fears ‘dark devices’, iPad update, Facebook’s disaster app

Today on DT Daily: The FBI is not happy about “dark devices,” Apple updates their iPad line and Facebook’s new disaster app.

Tech firms stung by recent revelations of tracking and spying technology used against their customers are beginning to fight for privacy, and that’s not sitting well with the FBI.

FBI Director James Comey said that federal laws should change to give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted devices – which he called “dark devices.” He said that in order to fight crime, they need to see what’s on those devices – if allowed by a court order, of course. So which dark devices is he talking about. The iPhone 6 for one. The new devices use on-board encryption that Apple says they can’t work around without the customer’s password.

Apple says hacking the password could take 5 years, so you can see the FBI’s problem. Other phone makers, including Samsung, are also developing privacy features that should confound snooping, and it’s a growing trend. We’ll be watching to see if laws change to thwart those efforts.

Apple rolled out some new iPads yesterday, and here’s a quick recap of what’s new:

The new iPad Air 2 is even thinner now, and faster. The camera packs more functions including time lapse, slow motion and improved cameras. Touch ID is also included. Prices range from 500 to 700 dollars depending on memory and cell-enabled version are $130 more. The new iPad Mini 3 gets a light reskin as well with more memory and Touch ID. And the original iPad Mini is now just 249. Apple also released a new iMac with a 5K Retina display.

You can expect all the new versions of the iPad to ship in the next couple of weeks.

When disaster strikes, more and more people turn to the internet for information – and to find their loved one. Facebook is now getting into the mix with Safety Check, an app that kicks in when a natural disaster takes place in your area. Safety Check will ask you if you’re affected and check you in online so others can see if you are safe.

Also, you can see if your Facebook friends are safe as well using a simple checklist. Safety Check is only visible to your friends, and you get updates when someone chimes in as safe. Of course, this matters little if there is no internet to log into, but many cities are putting together portable cell towers and emergency systems to keep connectivity going during a disaster.

Just don’t post some selfie of you in front of some burning buildings.