This week I went to see Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden film. I also watched some episodes of Black Mirror. Yesterday I already wrote about privacy issues. If I used the iPhone like my day-to-day cell phone, perhaps this news now would be enough for me to enter a paranoid collapse of dyslexic espionage on all sides.
The fact that Elcomsoft, a Russian company that provides forensic tools for analyzing iPhones, disclosed today, via Forbes, a discovery that can leave many with a foot behind: Apple has saved a call log iPhones even when iCloud backup is turned off.
According to the Russians, the recording of these calls takes place almost in real time and they are kept on Apple's servers for up to four months, even contradicting information from the company itself, which states that FaceTime's call records are not kept for more than 30 days.
Go to Ma's secret list also called FaceTime and, from iOS 10 and her CallKit, missed calls from Skype and WhatsApp, for example. The only way to disable this improper record of the call history is to turn off iCloud Drive on the device completely, which would hinder or prevent the operation of a series of applications and features.
Speaking Forbes, iOS forensic analyst Jonathan Zdziarski opined that the issue probably has more to do with a slip by Apple than an attempt to hide important information about user privacy. According to him, the behavior possibly happens for a better functioning of the Connections via iPhone, a feature that allows calls to be made on any device connected to the Apple account of a given iPhone.
Apple itself issued a note on the subject:
We offer call history synchronization as a convenience to our users, so that they can return calls from any of their devices. Apple is deeply committed to securely storing our customers' data. That's why we give them the possibility to keep their data private. Device data is encrypted with the user's password, and access to iCloud data, including backups, requires Apple ID and password. Apple recommends that all users choose strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.
Still, such behavior can understandably deposit an annoying flea behind many people's ears. Unless Apple cannot store our call logs on its servers the other way around, many people are, questionably or not, willing to give up part of their privacy to have better and more personalized services.
The whole problem lies in the fact that Ma did not make the existence of this fact very clear; in a gesture as concerned with the subject of privacy as Tim Cook's, this flaw is particularly noteworthy.