Apple is currently facing an uphill battle against the FBI regarding the security of their iPhone devices. In order to reinforce their stance of being unable and unwilling to hand over the keys to personal information to anyone, law enforcement or otherwise, they are reportedly putting into place tighter security measures on their iCloud service. Still thought to be in preliminary phases, it could expand Apple’s battle against those wishing to access private cloud-stored data. The downside to this could be that it would make it impossible for Apple to restore the data of users who have forgotten their passcode, which is one of the main reasons for users to make use of iCloud’s backup system.
In the modern age of cloud data storage, law enforcement agencies regularly request data from web-service companies such as Google, Microsoft and even Apple, typically via court orders. It was reported that Apple had responded to requests from law enforcement agencies regarding as many as 1400 accounts in the first half of 2015 alone. While these are sometimes faced with contention, the main point of issue is often data sovereignty, when the person’s data is requested by a nation with no jurisdiction over it.
Much data from the time leading up to the attacks was retrieved from Farook’s iCloud backups, which stopped 6 weeks before the attack. This was what led to the FBI attempting to gain access to the terrorist’s iPhone itself. It is thought that the investigators responsible for collecting data from the iCloud account committed an error, which made the iPhone impossible to recover or compromise through the platform. Of course, with Apple’s supposed new hardening, even getting this much data would be impossible, with no amount of court orders being able to change it. A drastic change like this could be polarizing amongst the public, with many in America supporting the FBI in regards to the iPhone unlocking, which could have a strong effect on Apple’s business in the US and abroad.