Fixing a Scary Privacy Picture

Despite an unmatched amount of intelligence at their disposal, human beings have failed rather sensationally at not making mistakes. This dynamic, in particular, has already been reinforced quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly gave us a safety cushion against our many shortcomings. Now, the kind of utopia you would generally expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it failed to stick around for long. Talk about what caused the said utopia to dissipate so soon, the answer has to include technology before it covers anything else. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over the scene, it allowed every individual with a chance to fulfil their ulterior motives at the expense of others’ well-being. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the drawing board. After a lengthy spell in the wilderness, though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The shift, if anything, has turned more and more evident in recent times, and truth be told, Apple’s latest move should only make it bigger and better moving forward.

As a part of the company’s wider iOS and iCloud security initiative, Apple has officially launched a way for iMessage users to verify that they’re talking to the person they think they’re talking to. In simpler language, the new iMessage Contact Key Verification system will let people, such as journalists, activists, politicians, and others who are at high risk of digital threats, make sure that their conversations are not being accessed by any threat actors. But how does the setup works? Well, assuming both people in an iMessage conversation are actively using the feature, they will receive immediate alert if “an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications.” Apart from it, the users will also have the option to compare contact keys via other means like call or in-person meeting for the purpose of conducting a similar verification.

Although iMessage has long been end-to-end encrypted, the service has continued to suffer from a myriad of security issues. Furthermore, as many critics have argued, all the exchanged messages may also be included in iCloud Backups, a service that wasn’t fully encrypted up until recently.

Talk about Apple’s decision to bolster encryption, the Big Tech player has finally expanded the number of “data categories” protected by end-to-end encryption from 14 to 23. The products that are covered under Apple’s new Advanced Data Protection program include device backups, messages backups, iCloud Drive, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Safari bookmarks, Siri Shortcuts, Voice Memos, Wallet Passes, and more. As of now, the program is still in its testing phase, but plans to instigate a nationwide rollout by the end of 2022 are already in motion.

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