Apple’s encrypted browsing will make it harder for police to investigate dangerous criminals


Criminals will be able to hide what they do on the internet, as Apple launched encrypted browsing with the flick of a switch, experts have warned.

Internet industry sources said the tech giant’s new private relay feature means broadband and mobile companies will find it difficult to help police investigations into dangerous suspects such as terrorists and child molesters.

Meanwhile, police have warned that such technology could “put people’s lives at risk” if it hides criminals’ “digital fingerprints” from officers.

Sources at the tech company told The Telegraph it “responds productively” to any police inquiries.

The warnings come as Apple rolled out Private Relay last month in its latest operating systems for iPhones, iPads, laptops and desktops.

Similar to “dark web”

The feature encrypts users’ browsing traffic on Apple’s Safari browsers, so the company claims that even it is unable to see what users are watching.

Usually, when people are browsing the web, their browser takes them directly to the website they want to access, leaving a track of where they have been with their broadband or mobile carrier.

However, Apple’s Private Relay service uses technology similar to the “dark web,” a hidden part of the Internet riddled with criminals, to ping people traffic between different servers so that no entity can see where they are. .

When the company first announced the feature in June, it said, “Private Relay is designed to protect your privacy by ensuring that when you browse the web in Safari, no party – not even Apple – can. see both who you are and what sites you are visiting.

Terrorists and child molesters

However, this week, a leading UK internet industry source told The Telegraph: ‘These changes could frustrate, or in some cases completely prevent internet providers’ ability to share evidence with police when the law requires it.

“This is of particular concern when this information relates to criminal investigations into child abuse or terrorist content. This is clearly not the reason why the changes were introduced by Apple, but it could be one of the many unintended consequences. “

Apple has yet to roll out Private Relay for all users, instead making it available to those who pay for storage in its iCloud system. Still, that means it might already be available to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK.

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