Privacy Overview Updated May 22, 2020


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419 'Privacy' stories

February 2012 - May 2020

Privacy is a growing concern in today’s world. Follow along with all our coverage related to privacy, security, what Apple and other companies are doing to keep your information safe, and what steps you can take to keep your information private.

Privacy Stories May 22

The FBI broke the law when it switched on a suspect’s phone to look at his lock screen without a warrant, ruled a judge.

It said that gathering evidence from a lock screen constitutes a search, and doing this without a warrant violates the 4th Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure …

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Privacy Stories May 21

Apple and Google created a coronavirus contact tracing API to help governments create their own apps – but an initial report suggests that take-up hasn’t been high. Just 22 countries and a handful of US states have so far requested access, and a subsequent iOS and Android update to allow contact tracing to work without an app appears to be some months away.

Some countries have created contact tracing apps that involve huge infringements of privacy. The one used in South Korea, for example, collects surname, sex, year of birth, residential district, profession, travel history, and more. China’s app is linked to a unique government ID, identifying specific individuals.

Many countries still haven’t managed to release a contact tracing app at all …

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Privacy Stories May 20

Analysis of the source code for the UK contact tracing app has revealed no fewer than seven security flaws.

One of these is that the random code assigned to users is only changed once a day, making it much easier to de-anonymize individuals …

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A previously undisclosed Grayshift tool allows law enforcement agencies to capture an iPhone passcode when the owner uses it to unlock their phone. This is done by surreptitiously installing malware on the device before handing it back to the suspect.

We knew Grayshift’s GrayKey box could brute-force iPhone passcodes, but we’re learning for the first time about this additional capability, which has seemingly been available for at least a year …

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The Siri grading whistleblower who revealed that private conversations were overheard by contractors working on improving Apple’s intelligent assistant has today revealed his identity.

He has done so in a letter to the European Union, calling for Apple to face the consequences of its privacy failure …

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Privacy Stories May 18

It looks like the most recent contention between the FBI and Apple over device encryption has come to an end as the agency has unlocked the two iPhones belonging to the Pensacola shooter with “no thanks to Apple.” Going further, AG William Barr has again called for the government to force Apple and others to create backdoors into their devices.

Update: We’ve got an official response from Apple on the matter that highlights all the ways it helped the FBI and that it’s precisely because it takes security and privacy so seriously that it doesn’t believe in creating a backdoor:

The terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida was a devastating and heinous act. Apple responded to the FBI’s first requests for information just hours after the attack on December 6, 2019 and continued to support law enforcement during their investigation. We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we lent continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York over the months since.

On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement’s important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.

It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.

Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don’t store customers’ passcodes and we don’t have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.

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