Apple receives user call histories when iCloud is enabled, claims a new report from Russian digital forensics firm Elcomsoft.
The logs include information about calls made and received on an iOS device, along with phone numbers, dates, times, call duration, and even missed and bypassed calls — for both regular and FaceTime calls.
In addition, starting from iOS 10, Apple reportedly logs calls made via third-party VoIP applications such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber.
As per Elcomsoft, Apple’s syncing of call logs dates back at least as far as iOS 8.2, released in March 2015. It accompanies other recent news that Apple stores iMessage logs.
Today’s report suggests that Apple keeps call logs in user iCloud accounts for up to four months, which would make them accessible to law enforcement, provided that they have the proper warrants.
“Four months is a long time [to retain call logs], Robert Osgood, a former FBI supervisory agent and now the director of a graduate program in computer forensics at George Mason University, told The Intercept. “It’s generally 30 or 60 days for telecom providers, because they don’t want to keep more [records] than they absolutely have to. So if Apple is holding data for four months, that could be a very interesting data repository and they may have data that the telecom provider might not.”
While not entirely shocking, the news may surprise some users, given Apple’s previous outspokenness about the subject of users privacy.
Earlier this year, Apple got into a notable feud with the FBI concerning whether it should or should not help unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c — and by extension whether an iPhone backdoor should be created to help law enforcement.
Elcomsoft, it should be noted, has a vested interest in this news — given that it has updated its Phone Breaker software tool today, apparently with the ability to let users extract the call histories from their iCloud accounts, using the accountholder’s credentials.