The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been having its way with the private sector and preserving hardware hackability for national security’s sake.
Two years ago, following FBI complaints of investigation interference, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) scrapped plans to enable iPhone users to fully encrypt backup data in the iCloud, according to Reuters. The option would have stripped Apple of any access to user data.
While the justification for abandoning full encryption is not entirely clear, Reuters sources raised alarms about the suspicious timing of the FBI interaction.
“They decided they weren’t going to poke the bear anymore,” one source said, referencing accusations by public officials that Apple protects criminals.
Why It’s Important
Apple’s compliance demonstrates its willingness to aid government agencies in their collection of private information. Its complicity in privacy violations contradicts its carefully-curated public image as a protector of user data.
The company has publicly resisted federal efforts to unlock the devices of arrested persons for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Last week, it defied a request by the U.S. Attorney General to unlock the phones of the Saudi national who killed three Americans at the Pensacola naval base. In December, it stood its ground against a bipartisan senate effort to outlaw end-to-end encryption.
Recent news suggests duplicity in — or at least a soft approach to — Apple's internal policy execution.
As of publication, Apple had not yet responded to the Reuters report or requests for comment.