We are familiar with Apple opposing a court order to hack into the iPhone used in the terrorist attack in California. We’re also familiar with Apple’s statement that any and all messages from iPhone to iPhone are encrypted and secure. A recent report however shows that some data in fact is tracked by Apple itself, and can be given to law enforcement.
A report issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team shows that some of the data from iMessages is tracked by Apple, and kept I logs with phone numbers identify users, and other metadata reviling locations of users.
The report is titled “iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement”, and reveals that Apple servers record information to check contacts so that they can determine if texts, and media are being sent to other devices by standard SMS text or by way of Apples iMessage.
iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, and can’t be sent to the police, but the contact logs can be.
Reports state that the date and time that a user enters a phone number, as well as the IP address. In 2013 Apple publicly said that it does not store data related to customers’ locations. Well, as we all know, IP addresses can lead to user location. In fact, it is one of the leading factors law enforcement uses to track locations during cyber investigations.
Apple released a statement saying:
“When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession. Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications. In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices. We work closely with law enforcement to help them understand what we can provide and make clear these query logs don’t contain the contents of conversations or prove that any communication actually took place.”
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