And this week, the focus is on Apple.
The Guardian and other sources reported that Apple recently refused a request by the government to hand over texts, in real time, that were sent over iMessage (a messaging service built into iPhones). The texts were requested as part of a law enforcement effort involving criminal behavior, and Apple failed to comply. The reason? The end-to-end encryption built into iPhones prevents Apple from seeing the messages, so they couldn’t provide the information.
As we’ve previously mentioned, the US government and law enforcement agencies have been fighting for backdoors into encrypted communications. There’s been push back from the technology community, with many companies such as Apple and Microsoft continuing to build encryption into their products to safeguard users. Google also made their stance clear when they announced they’d be adding more encryption to products, in an attempt to safeguard user privacy. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned and expressing a desire for encryption, as well.
The Apple situation continues to raise the issue on what access – if any – the government should have into encrypted communications. And it’s yet to be seen how the government will deal with Apple’s failure to comply. Microsoft was recently taken to court in a similar situation when they refused to hand over encrypted emails to law enforcement.
As a company that believes in online privacy and security, we’re glad that companies like Apple and Microsoft are building encryption into their products and standing up to the government’s demands for encryption backdoors. We strongly believe the technology community needs to continue to innovate and build these tools into their products, and to fight back against demands for access to data. All Internet users have a right to privacy online, and encryption is an essential tool to protect this privacy.
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