We've known for years now that the government has a scary amount of access to our (supposedly) private lives. Now, a new report alleges that Apple has a list of people you contact and sometimes gives that information to police.
Sam Biddle at The Intercept reported last week that Apple has information about the phone numbers you contact—as well as dates and times, and even your IP address—which could be used to identify someone's location. That seemingly contradicts Apple's 2013 claim that they "do not store data related to customers' location."
Biddle reports that Apple is sometimes forced to give that information to police by court order. Furthermore, the court orders reportedly aren't that hard for law enforcement to get, since government lawyers only have to say that they will "likely" obtain info that's "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation," The Intercept reports.
While Apple only keeps this information logged for a period of 30 days, the report says that court orders can extend these periods, "meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering."
In a statement to The Intercept, Apple said, "When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession."
With that said, iMessages are encrypted, so Apple can't give police access to the actual conversations, nor can they even "prove that any communication actually took place," according to Apple's statement to The Intercept.
While Biddle warns that "the fact that you swapped numbers with someone at some point in the past could be construed as incriminating or compromising," Apple's technology is pretty standard for online communications. Rather than being designed to be able to snitch on you, The Washington Post explains, "Apple needs to know things such as with whom you're chatting via iMessage so that it can deliver your messages."