TechBuzz: Are Your iMessages Really That Private?

A new trending topic is popping up on Facebook, but how credible is it?

The Intercept, a virtually unknown journalistic platform that is "devoted to supporting independent voices," claims to have obtained a document that shares that you might be leaving behind "sensitive metadata" - and phone numbers that police are able to document.

The article shares the following:

"Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not."

What does that mean? It basically has to scan who's using an iPhone and who's not. Seems pretty harmless right? Except the next part.

Illustration: Selman Design for The Intercept


The Intercept shares that the log holds the date and time when you entered the number, and your IP Address, which is not what Apple tried to reassure customers of in 2013, that  “we do not store data related to customers’ location."

Though the site claims that Apple confirmed to them that it's only for a 30 day period, court orders could extend deletion of such data - especially in the need of a court case.

The Intercept's statement from Apple was as follows:

"When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession. Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications. In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices. We work closely with law enforcement to help them understand what we can provide and make clear these query logs don’t contain the contents of conversations or prove that any communication actually took place."


Basically, if you're on the up-and-up where your texts won't be used against you, you shouldn't be too worried about this.  Otherwise, if you're a Baddy McBadderson who needs some sort of privacy to your iMessages, maybe you should turn your iMessage toggle off... Cue "Somebody's Watching Me."

Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me

Music video by Rockwell performing Somebody's Watching Me. (C) 2004 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.


Amy Cooper is the type of journalist that when asked "What do you bring to the table," she replies "I am the table."