Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has ditched its plan of letting iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their phones to the iCloud service. According to sources familiar with the matter, this move comes after the FBI asked the company not encrypt files uploaded to its iCloud from iPhone user as it would interfere with investigations.
Apple changes stand on encryption of data
It is alleged that the decision was arrived at two years ago but was not reported to avoid scrutiny. This is an indication of how the company is committed to helping intelligence agencies and law enforcement despite having a hard stance in high-profile legal issues with the government.
Two years ago, the company indicated that it had plans to provide its users with end to end encryption when backing up their data on iCloud. The plan was mainly meant for thwart hackers, and the company would not have a key to unlock backed up data.
The protracted war regarding security between investigators and the desire of tech companies to safeguard user privacy was brought into the spotlight last week. This came as a result of US attorney general William Barr calling in the tech company to unlock iPhones of a Saudi Air Force officer. The officer had shot dead tree people at the Pensacola, Florida naval base in December.
Legislators criticize end-to-end encryption of data
There has been growing scrutiny against tech companies in recent times regarding end to end encryption of data. US President Donald Trump has previously accused Apple of declining to unlock iPhones used by drug dealers, killers as well as other violent criminals. In a December hearing, the senators threatened to introduce a law against end-to-end encryption because of unrecoverable evidence in crimes against minors.
The company turned in the iCloud backups of the Pensacola shooter, indicating it didn’t want characterization that it has not cooperated with security agencies. A source indicated that Apple didn’t want to risk being sued for failing to offer data to government agencies or being uses as a scapegoat for encryption legislation.