Reuters reports that Apple Inc. allegedly dropped plans to grant iPhone users access to full encryption of their device backups in the company’s iCloud services.
The initiative was reportedly dropped because the FBI complained, suggesting that it could hinder investigations.
It is a well-known fact that Apple is one of the safest devices with a reputation for the protection of on-device data. However, it is not so for iCloud backups.
Although the information is encrypted to stop cyber attackers, Apple holds the key to decrypting the information and hands it over to governments and security services when it is necessary legally.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation alongside other agencies that advocate for privacy has not been pleased with the setup.
However, Apple explains that it is necessary for situations when users can’t get access to their accounts because they lost or forgot their key. The users have their key while Apple has one to restore users’ data in cases like that.
In 2018, the tech giants wanted to reverse the arrangement and close the loophole, thus, giving users full encryption to their iCloud data.
It was reported that Apple wanted to implement the use of the same end-to-end encryption used on on-device data but did not go further with the plan as they sort the consent of the FBI which vehemently kicked against it.
Apple’s decision to not move further with the plans was fuelled by their 2016 court battle with the FBI over access to an iPhone allegedly used by one of the suspects of the San Bernandino shootings in California.
The FBI received a court order to break into the phone which Apple appealed. The government, however, broke into the phone via a private contractor and dropped the proceedings.
Many law enforcement agencies regularly request that Apple decrypt iCloud data to aid an investigation. In the first half of 2019 alone, they requested access to thousands of accounts. Apple reported that they agree with 90% of such requests.
Apple has received numerous backlash from the US President, Donald Trump, and Attorney General William Barr.
Last year, the president tweeted that despite the help that the government provides Apple with as regards trade and other issues, they have refused to help the government to unlock the phones of killers, drug dealers, and other nefarious people.
The accusations of Barr that the company provided no essential help to the FBI and President Donald Trump’s tweet was rejected by the company.
Reuters reports that Apple’s decision to abolish the plan of granting users full access to encryption of their iCloud is a testament to the tech giant’s claims of not obstructing the government in serving justice to criminals.