Although 97% of Android phones have encryption as an option, less
than 35% of them actually got prompted to turn it on when they
first activated the phone. Even then, not everybody chooses that
extra layer of security.
A Google spokesman said that encryption is now required for all
“high-performing devices” — like the Galaxy S7 — running the
latest version of Android, Marshmallow. But only 1.2% of Android
phones even have that version, according to Google.
By comparison, most Apple products are uniformly secure: 94% of
iPhones run iOS 8 or 9, which encrypt all data. Apple (AAPL,
Tech30) makes its devices, designs the software, and retains full
control of the phone’s operating system.
“If a person walks into a Best Buy and walks out with an iPhone,
it’s encrypted by default. If they walk out with an Android phone,
it’s largely vulnerable to surveillance,” said Christopher
Soghoian, the principal technologist at the American Civil
Google is moving in the right direction, but here’s an area where the slow uptake of new versions of Android has a serious effect.