Users possessing Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod or even Mac believe the iMessage service is fully secure and encrypted as promised by the company. A recent report, however, claims that Apple stores logs of iMessage for up to 30 days on its servers and can even hand them over to law enforcement authorities if required.
An Intercept report says Apple, contrary to popular belief, not only stores the logs of contacts a user communicates with on the platform, but also shows the date and time of contact along with the user's IP address. The system, however, does not maintain records for content in the messages.
"When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession. Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications but in some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices," the company told Intercept.
Apple in the past has always maintained that they do not store data related to customers' location. But if they are able to retain the IP address of a user, it can lead to that user's location or locations over a period of time.
The revelation comes at a time when larger debates on data privacy have taken centre stage with a tussle between federal authorities and data privacy advocates. While authorities like the FBI believe these encroachments are necessary to prevent criminal activities and extremist/terror attacks, privacy advocates say privacy cannot be compromised in the name of security more so when the public does not know where their data is going.