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Wednesday, 22 January 2020 10:47

Apple backflip on end-to-end encryption for iCloud: report Featured

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Apple backflip on end-to-end encryption for iCloud: report Image by Mashiro Momo from Pixabay

Apple appears to have held off on protecting its users with end-to-end encryption for their backups on iCloud, with a report claiming that the company dropped such plans about two years ago.

In 2018, Apple chief executive Tim Cook told Germany's Der Spiegel in an interview that the company would stop keeping copies of user's keys for iCloud backups, and thus make it impossible for the company to gain access to backed-up user data.

But Cook apparently did not give the green light for this to happen, with a Reuters report on Tuesday claiming that Apple had abandoned such plans.

Instead, under pressure that is claimed to have come from the FBI, Apple retained the ability to gain access to these back-ups.

"Our users have a key and we have one. We do this because some users lose or forget their key and then expect help from us to get their data back," Cook told the German website.

“It is difficult to estimate when we will change this practice. But I think that will be regulated in the future as with the devices. So we will not have a key for this in the future either.”

In 2016, Apple faced court orders from the FBI to create a modified version of its iOS operating system that would allow unlimited guesses for the passcode to an iPhone. The company refused to do so.

The FBI obtained access to the data it wanted by using software from a third party.

This year, the FBI has again been after Apple to gain access to two iPhones belonging to a Saudi national who killed three Americans.

Reuters said Apple had turned over the iCloud backups for these phones to the agency.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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