PSA: Stop Backing Up To The Cloud

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Messy military lawyer. Today’s public service announcement is… Stop backing up to the cloud. That’s right. You heard me right? Hey Apple users, Hey Mac users, stop backing up to the cloud. Apple has definitely been one of the most progressive providers that we’ve ever seen in recent history.

But did you know that for a while Apple was giving over the encryption key even for information that was subpoenaing information that they said is encrypted. More recently, I’ve had an opportunity to read the fine print and what they do and don’t do pursuant to subpoenas. One of the things you need to realize is Apple, like anybody else, if they are provided with an emergency warrant, they’re going to respond. If they decide that the emergency warrant is valid, then they are going to give up your information, encryption or not. Now they try to hide behind this idea that because it’s encrypted, they can’t give it up.

But guess what? They can give over the encryption key. The other thing you need to realize is that Apple, in addition to that, is going to be deciding if they pursuant to a lawful subpoena that says, Hey, we want to take this person’s information surreptitiously and keep tabs on what they’re doing because we think that there’s an active threat, that they’re dangerous. And so Apple also in their infinite wisdom, is going to decide if they think it’s valid and it’s coming from law enforcement. How many times have you ever heard Apple being like, you know what, okay, we have heard, but we’re talking about a subpoena, right? A subpoena that says, Hey your account has information that makes people actively under a threat. And if law enforcement says it and Apple decides to agree to it, they’re going to be keeping tabs on your information and they’re going to be feeding it straight to the police.

And I don’t need anybody telling me that I’m helping out criminals because frankly, I just don’t care. What I care about is privacy. I care about is privacy. So anybody who’s out there, and I’m an Apple user too, I don’t back up to the cloud. I use end-to-end encryption because I’ve got client private secrets that I need to keep. And that’s all anybody else needs to know. If the rest of you out there, if you care about your privacy, take your devices off of automatic backups to the cloud. Just don’t do it. Just don’t do it. Messy military lawyer.

Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.

Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 253-212-9582

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