Apple to Hand iCloud Encryption Keys to Users →

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Wayne Rash:

According to a number of press reports, Apple is in the process of revamping its iCloud storage service to increase security by divesting itself of the task of keeping users’ encryption keys.

Currently Apple keeps the keys to access iCloud accounts, which means, among other things, that Apple can provide information to authorities when presented with a warrant. The company provided such information from the iCloud account of Sayed Farook, the terrorist who killed 14 county employees late last year in in San Bernardino, Calif. Apparently that’s now about to change. If the reports are correct, Apple is planning to offload the storage of encryption keys so that users control their keys, and they’re accessible only through a password.

This way, even Apple cannot gain access to your encrypted data, no matter how much it may want to and no matter how many government subpoenas it receives. It can’t honor court orders to provide the data because the company has no way to decrypt it.

This is to be expected. I’d like to think that Apple would have gone down this route without the current FBI fiasco taking place, but perhaps the latest events have just accelerated their plans.

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