Apple has put the plans to encrypt files in iCloud with end-to-end encryption in the refrigerator after complaints from the FBI. Apple had plans to implement encryption, but stopped it after talking to the police.
Tell that six sources involved against Reuters. Apple does not yet offer the possibility to store a complete backup of an iPhone or iPad in iCloud, also not via an opt-in. Users themselves also have no option to separately encrypt their backup. Apple stopped the plans and maybe it was under pressure from the FBI, the sources tell Reuters. Two years ago, Apple informed the FBI that it wanted to add end-to-end encryption to the phone backups. That would in particular be intended to prevent hacking of iCloud accounts. A year later Apple would have stopped the encryption plan.
Reuters could not confirm why that happened, and whether the FBI had direct influence on it. According to one of Reuters sources, “the Legal Department” took the decision. Another source, however, says that stopping was possible because Apple was afraid that other users might lose their data. With end-to-end encryption, Apple is no longer able to access encrypted backups. When the decision was made not to enter the encryption, about ten experts stopped the project, which then bore the code names Plesio and KeyDrop.
The news comes out while Apple is in a legal battle with the US federal police department. The FBI wants Apple to help when unlocking two iPhones. Apple says it won’t do that. The company said in a statement at the time that it had “given all the data to the FBI that we had”. Apple may be referring to an iCloud backup, which would not be encrypted.