Can Police Read Your IMessages Without Consent?

Posted: Sep 29 2016, 7:44am CDT | by , in News | Apple


Can Police Read Your iMessages Without Consent?
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Apple has made a big deal about how little customer data that they actually store on their servers, that doesn't mean that the iPhone company doesn't have any information that police agencies couldn't use if they needed to - and people are starting to find out about it.

The Intercept found that Apple knows which phone numbers you are even considering sending a message to, and that is because as soon as you type in another phone number, Apple's servers start looking to see whether or not the number represents another iOS device. This is what makes the messages on your iPhone turn blue (if they have iMessage and use Apple's own service) or green if it sends as a traditional text message.

If you think about it, that shouldn't come as a surprise because the iPhone has to know which type of message to send.

However, it is news that Apple will hold onto that information for 30 days. This can create problems, especially when people make a switch from an iPhone to another type of phone and the messages still think they should go over in iMessage format.

About 3.5 years ago, Apple engineers started storing these numbers to help identify any bugs or potential problems, according to a source that is familiar with what the company is doing.

So what does that mean? Apple does have a lot less information about you and your daily messages than a traditional text message would have since carriers can determine who the messages go to, what they say, and even where and when the message was sent.

Apple doesn't even know that, they only know that at one point you typed a specific number into your phone. Still, they have said that they will share data it has access to with law enforcement if they are given a warrant.

"Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications," Apple said. "In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices."

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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