Apple has started to develop anti-snooping technology. The primary purpose of this new tech is to stop the government forces from tracking iPhone users’ location or reading any personal messages. The smartphone giant has patented a way to cypher the mobile signals that are sent between their users’ phones and mobile towers, to protect the users from the eyes of authorities.
As The Telegraph reports it, the innovation would obstruct the use of “Stingray” boxes, which act as mobile phone masts. These boxes can track locations of users or even listen to personal calls.
Stingrays are also sometimes called IMSI catchers. The police forces in the UK have been know to use them, but it’s not entirely clear how often. A stingray fools mobile phones by acting like a cellular phone tower to which the phones connect. As a result, the device can track down a phone’s location and also eavesdrop on calls or messages.
The use of these devices is controversial – they not only target phones of suspects but they also collect personal data from millions of other devices at all times. It can be seen as a violation of privacy, especially as of recent times when government oversight and surveillance is under heavy scrutiny from opposers.
However the code of Apple would not completely mask the message contents. Rather it would make it harder to track from which device the specific message or call came from. If the technology comes to the limelight, the privacy campaigners will welcome it with their arms wide open. On the other hand, the government services have said repeatedly that encryption will allow terrorists plan attacks while unnoticed.
Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, has defended the encryption by saying that it simply “keeps the public safe.”
It’s still unclear whether Apple’s new published patent will be implemented in future technology.