Apple Inc has reiterated that its iMessage service is not designed to facilitate reading of private messages of users by the company. This is in response to allegations that the technology firm could possibly read iMessage content if it chooses to do so.
The accusation was raised by researchers from Quarkslab, a technology research company. It presented its allegations during the recent event for Hack in a Box. In a presentation, they claimed that Apple could read end-to-end encrypted messages in iMessage.
Those researchers think that it could be possible that the company is currently not into the practice of accessing and reading iMessages without users’ permission. But they asserted that if given the chance, Apple could easily and quickly do so if it needs to do so. They cited a potential government order as an instance that may require Apple to exercise its capability to inspect iMessage content.
In the company’s official denial, it pointed out that its accusers had cited theoretical vulnerabilities to require Apple to possibly re-engineer the system that operates iMessage. Apple has assured that even if it supposedly holds the ability to exploit the service, it would not have any plan or intention to do so.
Somehow in response to that denial, Quarkslab researchers reiterated that the end-to-end encryption of iMessages really exists. But they pointed out that the possible loophole would be in the key infrastructure that is fully under the control of Apple. According to them, the company could possibly alter any key anytime to access and read iMessages without the knowledge and permission of the app’s users.
The accusers even mentioned the knowledge of so-called ‘three-letter agencies’ about such a capability of Apple. Before this issue, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) already declared in April that Apple’s encryption technology applied to iMessages would make it impossible for any government agency to attempt to intercept content of any of those messages.
This issue re-emerged this summer when National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked supposedly confidential documents that outline the agency’s tactics. He claimed that there was a secret project called PRISM that give federal agencies easier access to information from popular technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.
Meanwhile, in a statement it released on June 16, Apple argued that it does not even collect or keep personal details of customers. It then assured that it has specific categories of data that it opts not to share to law enforcement agencies.
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