Apple announced on Wednesday that it intends to extend end-to-end encryption of iCloud information to cover backups, images, notes, conversation histories, and other services. This move may increase tensions with law enforcement agencies around the world while also protecting user data.
A feature called Advanced Data Protection is one of several new security measures that will enable customers to keep specific data safer from hackers, governments, and spies—even in the event of an Apple data breach. Furthermore, even with a warrant, law enforcement would not be able to access that data. Only the sender and recipient may access the data when it is end-to-end encrypted, not even the platform.
Apple would consequently be unable to abide by requests from regulators to divulge this cloud-based data as part of an inquiry. In the past, Apple and law enforcement have argued over attempts to access data on devices, such as the FBI’s attempt to gain access to the iPhone of one of the gunmen responsible for the 2015 assault in San Bernardino, California.
Apple has emphasised privacy as a key component of its user appeal in recent years through a variety of innovative technologies, including a function intended to shield journalists and human rights activists from malware. The current action, according to the corporation, is part of an effort to tackle “increasingly sophisticated and complicated” threats to user data from criminals and a rise in data breaches.
For years, privacy advocates have asked Apple to boost the level of encryption for iCloud backups. Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that some of the measures the company made more than ten years ago in establishing iCloud and the way it encrypts its data were “essential predecessors to build toward this moment.”
Apple stated in a blog post that it is adding nine more categories to the 14 sensitive data categories that are already end-to-end encrypted by default in iCloud, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and health information. Due to compatibility issues, encryption for iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar is not included in the new list, according to Apple.
Associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute and cryptographer Matthew Green thinks Apple’s expanded encryption efforts will serve as a model for other companies.
“What’s all the fuss about? Since Apple is the industry leader in secure (consumer) cloud backup, Green explained this in a string of tweets on Wednesday. Even though it’s an opt-in feature, this action will have an impact on the entire industry as rivals race to catch up.
The FBI stated that it “continues to be extremely worried” about the threat that user-only access and end-to-end encryption represent. The FBI stated in the statement that the situation “hinders our ability to safeguard the American people from unlawful conduct ranging from cyberattacks and crimes against minors to narcotics trafficking, organised crime, and terrorism.” “User-only access and end-to-end encryption undermine law enforcement’s capacity to counter these threats and pursue justice for the American people.”