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China Says It Cracked Apple’s AirDrop Encryption to Track Senders

re: security

How about fewer emojis and more attention to security?

China Says It Cracked Apple’s AirDrop Encryption to Track Senders


This allows local police to find ’several suspects’ who use the iPhone feature to transmit files containing ‘inappropriate remarks,’ Chinese authorities say.

Chinese authorities have claimed that they can identify individuals who use Apple’s wireless file-sharing tool to spread content that Beijing considers “inappropriate.”

Experts had managed to identify the phone number and email address of an AirDrop sending device using logs found on the receiving device, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice said in an article published on Jan. 8. That allows local police to find “several suspects” who use the iPhone feature to transmit files containing what authorities have referred to as “inappropriate remarks,” according to the agency.

...In late 2022, after protests against Beijing’s draconian COVID-19 measures erupted in Shanghai and other major Chinese cities, Apple restricted the sharing feature in the mainland following reports that young demonstrators used the AirDrop function to share images and slogans denouncing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its leader, Xi Jinping.

...Apple hasn’t offered an explanation as to why it chose China to be the first country with AirDrop restrictions....

China Censorship

For years, Apple kept Chinese customers’ data locally on servers run by a state-owned company, adhering to Beijing’s request to keep information within its borders.

Experts have pointed out that this method gives the CCP unfettered access to consumer data. Apple, in response, stated that it holds encryption keys to the data stored in those server facilities and has “never compromised the security” of its users and their data. [MPG: vote of “no confidence here”]

This local storage means that although the United States has laws against companies sharing data with Chinese authorities, Beijing can demand the data from the server storage company rather than from Apple.


MPG: in other words, a Chinese citizen might be jailed or worse thanks to Apple’s sloppiness. Or is it intentional to leave log data around for security compromises?

Apple surely does what the CCP tells it to do— follow the money. At least up to the point of reputational damage, hiding as much as possible. Apple is not going to risk having its product pipeline shut down. Has Apple ever criticized China? Figure it out. Individuals are guilty until proven innocent but governments and countries are guilty until the full light of day proves otherwise.

Could this have any bearing on why Apple iPhone sales in China are down 30%!

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