iMessage: Apple stores data and passes it to authorities, but unlike many fear

Sep

29

2016

Great headline that romps yesterday in different ways on the net: “Apple stores iMessage contacts and passes this on to the police.” Starting from the intercept , which stumbled across documents of investigative authorities and this exploit with a click strong headline. Apple, the company that love advertises the privacy of users, are further data. This, despite the promise that iMessage is safe also. But what saves Apple actually and in which cases it is passed on to authorities? Therefore one must understand how iMessage works at all. It is not doing so to a pure messenger, but an integrated solution that can also handle SMS.

To find out if a message as iMessage or SMS / MMS to be sent, Apple needs information about the recipient. This information is requested as soon as you type a number or select from the contacts, sending messages is not necessary for it. And these inquiries stores Apple. So-called metadata. These data include the IP address of the sender, the recipient’s number and the date and time of the request.

For 30 days, this data is stored. Apple wants to use this data to improve the iMessage system. It does re-checked each time whether a message is sent via SMS or iMessage. The contents of messages can not be viewed by the end-to-end encryption. Consequently, only the metadata of authorities are passed. However, even if an appropriate court order exists. Should companies make, because even Apple can not resist. We had the issue WhatsApp encryption ever .

For Apple, however, it is even worse that the company in 2013 said to store any information that may identify the user. By storing the IP address of this however is not true. Again, this is however, covered by the privacy policy that accepts any iOS user. For years.

To sum it all over again in a nutshell: Apple stores metadata to iMessage for 30 days and gives them out to the authorities, if they can show a court order. iMessage content, however, are not part of this storage and publication, these will not Apple even ran. Much about nothing? Yes, neither does Apple this secretly, yet Apple passes the data unfounded.

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