The FBI is “deeply concerned” about Apple’s decision to add new security measures to its cloud storage system, saying it would hinder the agency’s ability to prevent a range of crimes.
The company already uses end-to-end encryption for iMessages between Apple devices — meaning the messages can only be read on the smartphones, not by Apple or law enforcement.
With this update announced on Wednesday, the tech giant is enabling users to protect the vast majority of the data they upload to iCloud.
“This hampers our ability to protect the American people from criminal activity ranging from cyberattacks and violence against children to drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism,” an FBI spokesperson told the FBI. Washington Post.
The FBI is ‘deeply concerned’ about Apple’s decision to add new security measures to its cloud storage system across the country as it would hamper the agency’s ability to prevent a range of crimes
The FBI added that it was “deeply concerned about the threat of end-to-end and user-only-access encryption.”
“In this era of cybersecurity and requirements for ‘security by design,’ the FBI and law enforcement partners need ‘lawful access by design.’
The new encryption option will be available to public software testers immediately, to all US customers by the end of this year and to other countries starting next year, Apple said in its announcement — adding that it may not reach every country by the end of 2023 .
Advanced Data Protection is Apple’s highest level of data security in the cloud, giving users the choice to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so it can only be decrypted on their trusted devices ,” Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture, said in a statement.
WHAT IS END-TO-END ENCRYPTION?
End-to-end encryption ensures that only the two participants in a chat can read messages, and no one in between – not even the company that owns the service.
End-to-end encryption is intended to prevent data from being read or secretly altered as it is sent between the two parties.
The cryptographic keys required to access the service are automatically provided only to the two people in each conversation.
In decrypted form, messages are accessible to a third party, allowing governments to intercept them for law enforcement purposes.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is already encrypted and now Mark Zuckerberg wants to do the same with Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct.
According to security experts quoted by Apple, the total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2021, exposing 1.1 billion personal data worldwide in 2021 alone.
This isn’t the first time Apple has run afoul of law enforcement over granting access to user data.
In 2020, Apple decided to scale back plans to further encrypt iCloud data after receiving significant backlash from the FBI, multiple sources said at the time.
During a six-month period in Apple’s recent transparency reportthe company said it had transferred content from users 3,980 times for legal reasons, mostly in the United States and Brazil.
Privacy experts welcomed Apple’s announcement.
“This is great,” Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, an encrypted chat app, told the Post. “There has been enough pressure and enough narrative work to see the side of history emerge. It’s really incredible.’
The tech giant also said it is making iPhones compatible with physical security keys that connect to the phone, allowing users to demand access to their device. This would prevent attackers who steal passwords and usernames from breaking into phones.
“At Apple, we are unwavering in our commitment to providing our users with the best data security in the world. We continually identify and mitigate emerging threats to their personal data on the device and in the cloud,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
“Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users’ data safe, and with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users have three powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications.”
Despite Apple’s reputation for being pro-privacy, two developers recently released a report that found the company collects data about its customers as they use pre-installed apps — such as the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books, and Stocks — even when they have turned off analytics sharing.
These apps sent Apple requests detailing which apps a user viewed, including apps related to sexual preference and religion, the stocks they viewed, and the ads they saw.
The data collection also includes ID numbers and the type of device used, which is sufficient for device fingerprinting.
“In this era of cybersecurity and requirements for “security by design,” the FBI and law enforcement partners need “lawful access by design,” the agency said.
“This is great,” Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, an encrypted chat app, told the Post. “There has been enough pressure and enough narrative work to see the side of history emerge. It’s really unbelievable’