Friday, May 9, 2014

Apple and the US Law Enforcement

What is Apple able to copy from your locked iPhone/iPad device

New legal guidelines released by Apple for use by US law enforcement make clear just how much data the company can retrieve from your locked apple device when asked kindly by police. Using its secret internal tools, Apple can access and copy texts, contacts, photos, videos, call history, and audio recordings made on the device. All of this requires a valid search warrant, and there are some pieces of data that even Apple won’t be able to extract.

My locked iPhone does not safe all my data.
These guidelines are intended to serve as a quick reference of what types of information law enforcement can expect to get out of a suspect’s smartphone. Apple says it can only extract the data from its own built-in apps like Messaging, Photos, and Phone. If the user was using third-party apps, Apple can’t rip that data free from a locked iOS device. Likewise, its own apps are inaccessible in the event the device owner has encrypted content using the passcode. Email and calendar entries aren’t accessible through this method at all.

Police might still be able to get emails sent and received on the device, but not from the device itself. That data would require access to the suspect’s iCloud, and thus, a subpoena for Apple to hand it over. Depending on how a person uses Find My iPhone, these messages might also contain some location information, but Apple doesn’t keep GPS data on devices.

Apple makes clear in the document that it will only extract data at its Cupertino headquarters. Law enforcement must have the device delivered there and provide removable storage to save the recovered files. This is probably a safety measure to keep the tools from ending up in the wrong hands. There are plenty of nefarious individuals who would love to crack open a locked iPhone.

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