Apple plans to expand its end-to-end data encryption services. This will close a privacy hole that allowed law enforcement to access photos and messages stored in iCloud accounts, among other things.
But even though supporters of the change see it as a win for user privacy, its opponents, which include an organization called the FBI, aren’t too happy about it.
In an email to The Washington Post, the FBI wrote that they are “deeply concerned” about the “threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose.” Basically, they said that technology makes their jobs a lot harder.
According to WaPo, the statement continued, “This hinders our ability to protect the American people from criminal acts ranging from cyber-attacks and violence against children to drug trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism.” “In this age of cybersecurity and calls for “security by design,” the FBI and its law enforcement partners need “lawful access by design.”
In short, the FBI’s argument is based on the idea that, just like they can look through someone’s physical things, they should be able to look through their digital things, too, as long as they don’t go too far.
Also, the FBI’s worries are reasonable, but end-to-end encryption isn’t just a way for Apple to annoy the FBI or make it easier to commit crimes. User privacy is important, and many people have spent the better part of a decade giving away a lot of information, often without much control or understanding. Hacking and data breaches, on the other hand, happen often.
The new end-to-end encryption, which won’t be added to Apple’s email, calendar, or contacts, as The New York Times points out, would definitely make users safer.
All in all, when it comes to data encryption, tech companies, law enforcement agencies, and users have not yet found a solution where everyone wins.
Sasha O’Connell, an executive in residence at American University and former FBI section chief, told the NYT, “It’s great to see companies putting security first, but we have to remember that there are trade-offs.”
In an interview with the New York Times, O’Connell made another interesting point. He said that, in the end, it seems like Apple and Apple alone will make the final decision.
“The big question is: Who makes this choice?” she went on. “Apple is still holding on to it.”