FBI pressure leaves iCloud, iPhone users vulnerable to unencrypted back door
Apple is once again mired in another privacy related scandal. According to Reuters, Apple caved in to the FBI on its plans to encrypt iCloud back-ups of its users iPhone (and iPad) data. The story has come to light following recent pressure from US President Donald Trump calling on Apple to unlock the iPhones of “killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.”
Reuters claims that it has received information from six different sources that Apple had plans two years ago to encrypt iPhone data stored in iCloud that would have removed the ‘key’ to user data. This would have helped to deliver the levels of strict privacy that Apple advertises as a major point of differentiation from its competitors. Instead, those plans were scuppered leaving Apple in a position to support law enforcement by handing over unencrypted back ups, which it has admitted to doing.
According to Reuters, two former FBI officials revealed that such access to user iPhone data has provided it with ‘vital evidence’ used in ‘thousands’ of cases that it has won in court. There several aspects of Apple’s iPhone data that are encrypted, but many users would also assume that their iCloud back up is also encrypted. The only way to ensure that an iCloud back up is fully encrypted is to store back iPhone and iPad back ups locally to a Mac or PC.