Apple Inc. dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company’s iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The long-running tug of war between investigators’ concerns about security and tech companies’ desire for user privacy moved back into the public spotlight last week, as U.S. Attorney General William Barr took the rare step of publicly calling on Apple to unlock two iPhones used by a Saudi Air Force officer who shot dead three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base last month.
James Vincent, The Verge » Apple can’t read your on-device data, but it can read your iCloud backups
This information is encrypted to stop attackers, but Apple holds the keys to decrypt it and shares it with police and governments when legally required.
Apple has not implemented end-to-end encryption for iCloud Backup, the service that lets customers back up their iPhones and iPads to Apple servers, or for iCloud Drive. The iCloud Backup and iCloud Drive data sets are encrypted at rest and in transit, but Apple has the key to unlock them and can thus give decrypted versions to law enforcement.