With its new photo features, messaging tools and keyboards for the iOS 8, Apple has also introduced new software security features. Tim Cook, the CEO has announced that the company has changed its iOS 8’s encryption system. Due to this, the company cannot bypass its user’s passcode at any time. That also means Apple will not be able to hand over personal data to officers in the law enforcement, even if there is a warrant.
The new developments only apply to personal data saved in the device and locked with a passcode, but not for data stored in Apple’s iCloud. This security tightness only applies to devices running the new iOS 8 and not the ones running the older versions.
Tim Cook’s message
In his message to Apple customers, Tim Cook reassured them on how seriously Apple takes its customer’s trust and privacy. Cook detailed on how Apple handles personal information, what it collects and doesn’t collect from customers and why.
He explained that personal data like photos, messages and emails including attachments, contacts, iTune contents, call history, reminders and notes are all secured under the user’s passcode. Unlike its rivals, Apple themselves cannot bypass their customer passcodes and access data.
Apple’s legal process guidelines updated
That also means Apple cannot respond to government warrants for extracting personal data from devices that run iOS 8. Apple has also updated its legal process guidelines to suit their latest developments. It said that the company will no longer perform data extractions as its data will be encrypted and Apple will no more have the encryption key.
Mr. Cook also promised that the company will add more updates about the new privacy standards at least once in a year and whenever there are crucial policy changes.
The downside of this particular development is that Apple support staff will no longer be able to break into a locked device, just in case users forget their passcode or lose it.
The procedures Apple followed earlier
Apple says that it usually receives information requests from people in the law enforcement. In such cases, information may have to be extracted either from the device or from user account. Apple’s legal team would review every request and search warrant before giving out any kind of information to the cops. Customers are given a notice before any kind of personal information can be accessed.
But from here on Apple will no longer be able to extract customer details from devices that run iOS 8.
What’s the take?
It’s just the beginning and there is a long way to go. Apple’s new privacy developments will find happiness among people in business. Entrepreneurs, celebrities, businessmen and other people who store lots of personal data on their iPhone will welcome the new change.
However, one has to see how well Apple will cope with law-breakers. The fact that the company cannot help even at times of legal emergency (in cases where law enforcement need to check a suspect’s personal data) is baffling. Will it not encourage the wrong doers? The fact that your personal data is so safe and cannot be broken even when requested by the government, may raise questions or even create issues in future.
Another important thing to be noted here is - users just cannot afford to forget their passcode. But what if they do?
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what comes up!