Apple can decode and access anything stored in iCloud

Apple can decode and access anything stored in iCloud
Users of Apple’s iCloud service are protected by industry-leading protection – 128 bit encryption, data transmission via SSL, the whole nine yards. In short, it’s very unlikely that any outside party could ever access your iCloud data without your permission.

Unless they asked Apple.

A recent security analysis conducted on behalf of Ars Technica has demonstrated that Apple keeps a key that lets them decode anything stored in iCloud at any time. Moreover, the Terms and Conditions you sign when you elect to use iCloud show that Apple expressly keeps the right to do so at any time they see fit. Apple retains the right to “pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove” any content they deem objectionable, and “access, use, preserve and/or disclose” any of that content to law enforcement officials.

Of course any company must comply with a court order if they are sent one, but Apple’s T&C don’t specify a court order as a requirement – they simply have the right to screen your iCloud data, remove it if they like, or pass it along to the FBI if they feel it’s in their best interest.

Should you be worried? The trite answer is “only if you are doing something wrong”, but it really comes down to how much you trust Apple with your data when you know they can access it at any time. It’s not the only way Apple could have elected to design iCloud – a fully encrypted system would not have let Apple spy on the data either, much the way Microsoft can’t see what’s on a fully encrypted version of Windows 7 without your password. Of course BlackBerry's have a system like that, and it's gotten them into very public trouble in some countries.

But Apple likes control, and prefers to trust its own judgment as to when action should be taken, and their T&C allow that. It lets them avoid a public altercation like RIM ran into, since Apple doesn't have to alert anyone to share data with local authorities. It also protects them against claims that iCloud is being used for rampant pirating, since they can check for (and remove) material that violates copyright.

It’s easy to get all worked up over privacy issues, and we don’t want to cause undue alarm. Instead, you need to be an informed consumer; if you work in a field where you keep trade secrets, then iCloud probably isn’t for you. If you are uneasy with allowing Apple access to your encrypted data, you may want to select a different cloud storage solution. For most users it probably won’t be a big deal.

What do you think about Apple’s back-door access to iCloud data? Let us know in the comments below.

source: Ars Technica via AppleInsider



1. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

ugh... more privacy concerns... idk i mean its just like using google or anything internet related-- u have to deal with it and use the product or just dont put stuff in a cloud/internet... i wish there was a way to keep better privacy but it seems impossible... im not saying they should be able to do this... they probably shouldn't, but it seems to be just another fact of using the internet.. i guess if u dont like it dont use it.. just like most apple products..


Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

What good news! Apple want's, need's you'r info......

3. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

I work with legal documents and this is not exclusive to Apple... Why is this on here? If the court decides to subpoena your phone records, that can be done too. This is nothing new.

4. iShepherd

Posts: 38; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

READ the article! That's the entire point, Apple doesn't need a court order to start surfing through your stuff. Do you seriously work with legal docs?

14. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Amen! I mean really! I don't believe he read the entire article. It's really not that difficult...

17. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Neither do most companies. It's choice of wording. Can the companies do it. Probably. Will they, we don't know. Can you kill someone? Yes. Will you do it? Maybe, maybe not.

34. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Theres a lot of issues with privacy nowadays. If you choose to obtain records for X reason, you can likely do it. I wouldnt doubt if Apple has this available to avoid legal trouble. I wouldnt doubt most companies have access to their customes cloud accounts.

5. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

This is a BIG reason as a Mac Fanboy, never purchase an iCrap iPhone. I own an HTC Evo and LOVE the fact that my phone is equipped with an expansion slot. However the new HTC One X, I said it before and YES! I will POST AGAIN! I HATE THE FACT THAT THE NEW GENERATION OF ANDROID PHONE ARE JUST LIKE THE iCrap iPhone. With no expansion slot, forcing consumer to the cloud, whether you like it or not. In other words to consumer from this new trend of smartphone, a big "TOO BAD"!!! The cell phone manufacturers are very aware of the dumbass 99% fool will eat the crap they put out. This isn't just Apple doing this, Google and every other cloud service provider is guilty of this. Consumer should have an option to have an expansion slot on the high end phone, not just the low end.

7. iShepherd

Posts: 38; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I agree, the one thing I don't like Google doing is pushing hard for Android phones to rely on cloud services when my wireless plan is capped, and now my broadband is capped too.

9. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

However: what is corrupting the landscape of the new phone being manufacturer, are all those butt head fools with this "I Don't Care" attitude of having the expansion slot. They are Sooo comfortable with 8GB, !6Gb or even 32GB of fixed storage. AS well as not having a removable battery option. What is so wrong with wanting options. To the person that gave iShepherd a thumbs down, Suck egg! We're right!!!

11. gp284

Posts: 120; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

but what does your original comment have to do with this article?

13. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

If I have to explain to you (@gp284), then it's not worth it. Everyone else understood what I posted and how it relates to this article. I'm truly sorry you were unable to comprehend my original post. Maybe if you try reading it serval time you might understand.

18. gp284

Posts: 120; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

All I see is you hating on new feature phones not having an SD card slot. There was a post about that a while ago which is where you should have posted it. This post has to do with the iCloud and while both your post and the article have to do with content storage this still would have been better suited for the other article. If you had wanted it to be more applicable you should have just said screw the iCloud I prefer using SD cards rather than having to trust my content to some other company, rather than just saying how you like SD card slot expansion and you don't like how new feature phones are ditching the slot and not one word about the iCloud.

21. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Hence I love to see an expansion slot on all Anroid device and hate iCloud...


Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012



Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Dam right!

8. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Agreed i always buy a phone with a memory card slot,32gb cards can be got for 30 euros for example. There are a few new android phones with sd card slots but there are plenty of alternatives also. You can bet the gs3 will have a card slot.

10. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

@andro I hope your right! The ways things are looking is not so good. They are already making so many device with no option at all. No expansion slots, no removable battery. The really want to make sure that consumer recycle their phone every two years.

15. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

A non removeable battery is less of a concern as android phones starting to shift with 1800+ mah batteries,a two year cycle is fine as most peoples upgrades come round every 18 or 24 months plus all phones except apples come with 2 year warranties

40. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Agree! And there is proof, you can watch or download video from here:

6. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Hmmmmm.........Apple spying on its users,where are we heard this before! The icloud was always another way apple do market 'research' and itunes agreements are always worded so the user 'agrees' to it all these apple motives by accepting itunes. .a recent PA survey showed most users perferred micro sd cards slots for security reasons so ifans are damned here due to apples demand of internal memory only so that they can charge high for extra capacity

12. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Well don't sing to loud just yet @andro, these new breed of Android are becoming more and more exactly like the iPhone. With no expansion slots or removable battery. This my point, So this year we Android user will be damed as well.

16. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

I doubt apple would ever want to look at my jr.high pictures and collection of amy winehouse music. who cares, unless you have a national secret hidden in the icloud, i dont see it being that big of a deal.

19. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

It's funny fandroids bashing Apple over privacy concerns while Goolge harvest all their data to advertisers.

20. phoenixpr

Posts: 167; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

So true!!!!


Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

I have, or have you ever seen or herd Apple sponsering on any-thing? Nope, There to acquisitive!

26. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

no, the bashing is because you Apple lovers think that Apple wont be doing what Google has done.. It all started with you Apple lovers.. This is just how the android lovers say, "You see, they do the same thing."


Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

It's not funny! It's the truth.... Wake up from ur wooly land.... Open ur obscurity eye's.... The fruit is the master in disguise!!! Robot vs fruit..... This is contention.......


Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

People who bye iphone no nothing about the phone people who bye beats headphone no nothing about Headphones people who bye porsche no nothing about cars What they no is that model they buy is the most overpriced item and popular at the moment..... The real competion is marketing strategy...... Iphone5 just could upgrade lte and screen over the ip4s and the its the new big thing!!!!!!!! Poor fans stupid dum idiots......

23. Mandroid

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

Cool cool. I'll add that to the list of 600 other reasons not to buy apples novelties. What horse crap, when I buy something I sure as hell don't want anyone to tell me what I can and cannot put on there.

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