Apple has reportedly canceled its plans to fully encrypt users' iPhone backups in iCloud and based on complaints from the FBI that the move would harm the investigation.
The iPhone manufacturer is a reversal that happened about two years ago, not reported before, but now several sources familiar with the matter have spoken Rider about previous encryption plans.
According to several former and current FBI officials and Apple employees, the FBI earlier said more than two years ago that it was going to offer users end-to-end encryption when storing their phone data with iCloud. According to the plan, Apple will no longer have access to the keys that are used to unlock encrypted data, and because of this, companies will not be able to turn materials into law enforcement, even through a court order.
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However, in private conversations with Apple shortly thereafter, representatives from the FBI's tech department opposed the plan, arguing that it would prevent them from obtaining evidence against the suspects.
Working with law enforcement
When Apple personally spoke to the FBI related to its work on phone security for next year, its end-to-end encryption plan was discontinued, according to Reuters sources, despite the news outlet being unable to determine exactly why the plan was shelved.
One source said the company does not want to risk being attacked by government officials for protecting criminals, suing to make the data inaccessible to government agencies or being used as an excuse to create new legislation against encryption.
While Apple is often reluctant to unlock for criminal investigations, as was the case with the San Bernardino shooting back in 2016, the iCloud cloud storage service may be secretly sought after. U.S. authorities requested and received full device backups or other content from iCloud accounts on 1,568 occasions, according to the company's latest transparency report on its semi-annual data requests. Apple also said that it turned over at least some of the data on 90 percent of requests.
While iCloud isn't protected by end-to-end encryption, the company has shifted its focus to protecting sensitive user information such as saved passwords and health data.
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