Why Apple and Google are finally getting on board with encryption

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

26 September 2014

Both Apple and Google, two giants in the cellphone industry with less-than-spotless track records when it comes to data protection, have announced that the new versions of their operating systems (iOS and Android respectively) will be encrypted by default.

Apple led the charge with the unveiling of iOS8, describing how the system would automatically encrypt all local data on the phone, though of course any information stored in Apple’s iCloud service would not be encrypted. Google soon followed suit with similar claims about the new version of Android, delighting privacy activists and angering law enforcement authorities who claim that their ability to access such data is essential to fighting crime.

The big change here is that Apple and Google have, in the past, been subjected to court orders making them hand over the data of their users. This new move allows them to sidestep such a demand, by taking that same information out of their hands entirely. Where Apple and Google once could access your local data, now, they cannot. In short, they don’t have the data to give.

Encryption technology, long used by companies such as SurfEasy, scrambles your data and makes it impossible for anyone except you to access it. The way SurfEasy VPN works is to create an encryption tunnel between you and the internet as well as furnishing you with a “ghost” IP address, meaning that not only can you not be tracked, but all of your data is safe while you surf the web. As SurfEasy is a no-log VPN, the company retains no information about you, your download history or your web browsing history, and therefore has no information to give over in the event of a court order.

It’s great news that Apple and Google are both jumping on the encryption train. It’s certainly a canny business move that will placate users who’ve been let down by lax privacy policies up to this point – the main reason why both companies are now dealing with encryption technology.

And yet, still these operating systems are not entirely protected; many iOS8 users will still back up all their information to iCloud, where it is not encrypted; indeed, this new move means that users will have to back up to the cloud in case they forget their passcodes, as they won’t be able to retrieve their codes from Apple and will instead need to wipe all data off the phones and restore them. Only data saved in the cloud will be retrievable.

Whilst this is a move in the right direction for both companies, and for the users that buy their phones, it still falls short of the security necessary to truly protect user information from snoops – and as both companies have a bad history with data protection, can you really trust them?

Take your security into your own hands; register at surfeasy.com/register today and start encrypting all your data, on every device, from anywhere in the world.

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