Call History of iPhone to be saved in iCloud – Consent or Control of User is Missing Raising Privacy Issues

iPhone Privacy Issues

Apple is offering its users of the iPhone a convenient feature of saving the call history of the phone in its iCloud.

Easy Back Up

It is easy nowadays to back up all data into the cloud, as it makes it convenient for users to synchronize data across several devices. Storing in the cloud also makes it easy to download the data when you change your phone. However, there can be negative consequences to this as well, as sometimes the smartphones sync sensitive bits of information that the user is not specifically aware of. This could then fall into the hands of companies that develop software for cracking smartphones.

iPhone Call History

Cracking iCloud Accounts

Recently, Elcomsoft, a Mosco based phone breaking software added features that could retrieve the call history data of iPhone users through iCloud. The person intending to use the software for cracking iCloud accounts would, however, need the login data details or the login token taken from any device of the user.

Syncing Call History Data

Elcomsoft notes that Apple has nearly four months call history of a user saved up in case the user is using the iCloud Drive. The call history has all information regarding the phone number, the date, time of the calls, the duration. Missed calls and calls that are ignored also are stored and synced. The iOS 10 version will also sync data related to VoIP applications using the CallKit framework.

iCloud Drive

Apple’s Response

Apple has responded to the above statement from Elcomsoft through iMore. Apple claims that the syncing of call history details is a convenience that the company offers to its users, so that they can make a return call from any of their other devices.

The Issue

The issue here is not that Apple is enabling synchronization of the call logs. The problem lies in the way in which the sync is being enabled. Syncing of calls is surely useful for users and this is precisely why Apple implemented it. However, it can pose a problem for those who are not interested in syncing the call logs.

No Consent or Control

The problem is due to the missing feature of consent or control of the user. The call history data pertains to information that is similar to the one that the NSA (National Security Agency) also wanted. The people discovered this in 2013 by way of the first Snowden leaks. According to the Intercept, data records for a period of four months is double the size of that which a mobile carrier maintains.

iPhone Privacy Issues

Privacy Affected

There are users who would like to maintain their privacy and may not want the data to be so readily accessible to others, such as law enforcement ones. Another problem with the feature is that there is no obvious way of turning of the syncing or turning it on. There is a way out by completely shutting out iCloud Drive. However, if you do this, you will lose out on all other services of iCloud.

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