Apple vs. the FBI: How dropped data encryption plans impact user privacy
Thursday, January 30, 2020
About two years ago, Apple canceled its plans to implement end-to-end encryption for iCloud because of complaints from the FBI, reports Reuters.
Reuters’ sources say that the tech giant had to abandon full encryption of iPhone backups after FBI objections over the resulting reduced ability to gather evidence of criminal activities.
If Apple had followed through, it would no longer have been able to access users’ encrypted data. Thus, even under court orders, it could no longer turn over private material to authorities in readable form.
The FBI uses hacking software to break into the phones and computers of potential criminals. By contrast, Apple’s cloud can be searched in secret, which is more convenient. Therefore, the company’s decision to not proceed with end-to-end encryption of iCloud backups made the FBI’s job easier.
According to Reuters, in the first half of last year, U.S. authorities armed with warrants obtained full device backups or other iCloud content in more than 1,500 cases.
Apple’s intention to offer end-to-end encryption and cut off its own access to customers’ information should be lauded, despite it running contrary to the FBI’s principles. That is because unencrypted data is coveted not only by the authorities, but also by cybercriminals.
Users’ data has been in demand for many years and the situation is out of control. Last year’s data breaches, hacks, and leaks put an unimaginable amount of sensitive information at risk. And the risk of getting money stolen from a credit card is no longer the worst possible outcome. Nowadays, our data is sold to advertisers or used to influence our political decisions — and that is changing the world as we know it.
Although Apple’s backtracking hasn’t been reported until recently, data encryption has been a hot topic for quite some time now. Security experts advise people to not wait for the government or big corporations to take care of their data, but to look after their privacy themselves. There are many different tools, such as VPNs, file encryption software, and password managers, that help users protect themselves from hackers.
The Apple case shows that even big companies can find themselves between a rock and a hard place, forced to choose between better protection for their users and unimpeded government access to information for legitimate purposes.
- Breaking down barriers to make career and technical pathways accessible for everyone
- 7 trigger control errors and how to fix them
- Millions of high school students set for success: Celebrating Career and Technical Education Month
- The stress of 911 call-takers and emergency dispatchers
- How can educators promote self-direction, independence during remote learning?
- Children of the badge: The impact of stress on law enforcement children
- Will kids affected by the digital divide be ready for next school year?
- To fight crime, engage kids in quality after-school programs
- How 3D architectural rendering services can boost your design business
- US employers add 4.8 million jobs in June; jobless rate drops to 11.1%
- Customer communication guides small business reopenings amid COVID-19
- Study: ED clinicians hesitant to prescribe buprenorphine for treating opioid dependency
- How employers are helping employees reduce student loan debt
See your work in future editions
Your content, Your Expertise,
Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice & We've got the platform you needFind Out How