comscore Apple logs your iMessage contacts, could be forced to share with law enforcement agencies
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Apple logs your iMessage contacts, could be forced to share with law enforcement agencies

Apple is reportedly keeping logs of contacts you type an iMessage to, irrespective of whether you send it or not.

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Apple’s iMessage may have one glaring flaw. Though the messaging app is private — even Apple can’t see the messages — a report claims that the company keeps a log with contact details of whom you are trying to contact. Apple is also said to record your IP address and could be liable to share it with any law enforcement agency if presented with a valid warrant. Also Read - Flipkart Big Saving Days 2021 sale: Top deals on mobile phones to look at

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So when you are about to send a text to one of your contacts, iMessage will ping Apple servers to check if they have an iMessage account or not, in order to check whether the message should be sent as a normal SMS or an iMessage or in other words, whether you see the green message bubble or a blue one. According to The Intercept, it is during this process that Apple gets to see the contact detail of your friend. It is worth keeping in mind that Apple will only get to see the contact details, and not the messages since they are end-to-end encrypted, which means the message is encrypted and decrypted at the sender’s and receiver’s devices respectively. Also Read - Apple Arcade brings MasterChef: Let’s Cook, “Ad-free” Super Stickman Golf 3 and more

The report also adds that during this process, Apple also logs in the date, time as well as the IP address from where the request came from. An IP address could provide a basic idea of your location. This in a way contradicts Apple’s claims that it does not store any “data related to customers location. Apple is said to store these data for 30 days after which they are deleted. But if the company is provided with a valid warrant, it will have to share the details with law enforcement agencies.

“In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices,” Apple said in a statement to The Intercept. “We work closely with law enforcement to help them understand what we can provide and make clear these query logs don t contain the contents of conversations or prove that any communication actually took place.” Interestingly, the publication came across this data in a legal document found at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement s Electronic Surveillance Support Team. This surveillance team had basically created a list of information that Apple is capable of handing over. ALSO READ: Beware! A single iMessage could get your iPhone, Mac hacked

While it is a tad shocking to find out the kind of data Apple has access to, the company is indignant that it won’t easily share them with anyone. The folks at 9To5Mac also point to Apple’s terms and conditions, and say that this isn’t a new thing. The reason iMessage pings Apple’s servers is to check if the contact has an account, and then decide which route to send the message through. A section reads, “When you use your device, your phone number and certain unique identifiers for your iOS Device are sent to Apple in order to allow others to reach you by your phone number when using various communication features of the iOS Software, such as iMessage and FaceTime. Apple has FaceTime call invitation logs when a FaceTime call invitation is initiated. These logs do not indicate that any communication between users actually took place. Please note the only categories of user generated active files that can be provided to law enforcement, pursuant to a valid search warrant, are: SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history. Apple cannot provide: email, calendar entries, or any third-party app data.

Similarly, while Apple doesn’t deny the fact that some of its services may record the user’s IP address. The data is not shared with anyone without a valid warrant. “iCloud subscriber information and connection logs with IP addresses can be obtained with a subpoena number, email address, product purchased, purchase amount, and IP address A subpoena or greater legal process is required in order to obtain this information.

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  • Published Date: September 29, 2016 11:37 AM IST
  • Updated Date: September 29, 2016 11:40 AM IST



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