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Apple Will Allow iCloud Backups to be Fully Encrypted

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CEO Tim Cook with the Apple logo.

Apple also said it was dropping a plan to scan user photos for child sex abuse images, and that it was making iPhones compatible with physical security keys that can connect to the phone so consumers can require them for access to their accounts from new

Credit: Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc.

After years of delay under government pressure, Apple said Wednesday that it will offer fully encrypted backups of photos, chat histories and most other sensitive user data in its cloud storage system worldwide, putting them out of reach of most hackers, spies and law enforcement.

Apple has benefited for more than a decade from a perception that it does more than other phone and computer companies to safeguard privacy, including its use of end-to-end encryption for iMessages between Apple devices. Those can only be read on the devices, not by Apple, a phone service provider or police with a warrant.

But most iPhone and Mac computer owners back up their iMessages, photos and other content to Apple's iCloud, where the company can retrieve it for locked-out users or authorities. That has also left the material open to hackers that have tricked customers out of their passwords, increasing the potential for embarrassment and even extortion.

From The Washington Post
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