Apple Reportedly Dropped Plan to Allow Encrypted iPhone Backups Following FBI Complaint

Posted on January 21, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS, Mobile with 4 Comments

Apple is one of the few companies that invest a lot in protecting customer information. But according to a new report from Reuters, the company had dropped a plan to allow users to encrypt iPhone backups on iCloud following complaints from the FBI two years ago.

Apple was apparently working on a new system, codenamed Plesio and KeyDrop, which would allow users to encrypt their iPhone backups on the cloud, preventing FBI from accessing their personal information, even with a court order.

Apple had notified FBI about its plans two years ago. The company’s plan was to prevent hackers from accessing user information in order to protect users’ privacy, but the end-to-end encryption would mean the data would also not be available to FBI or other authorities.

Following Apple’s discussions with FBI, representatives of FBI’s cybercrime agents and operation technology division objected to Apple’s plans. It’s not exactly clear why Apple dropped the plan, however.

A former Apple employee told Reuters, “Legal killed it, for reasons you can imagine.” Apple apparently didn’t want public officials to attack the company for protecting criminals. End-to-end encryption would obviously make the lives of such criminals way easier. But the conflicts with FBI weren’t the only reason Apple had dropped the project, and it seems like concerns over users getting locked out of their devices more often due to the end-to-end encryption had also contributed to Apple’s decision to drop the project.

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