Saturday 20 January 2018

New Apple iPhones could have 'your boss is watching you' tool

iphone se
iphone se

Rhiannon Williams

Apple could be testing a tool that reminds employees their company owns their iPhones, via a message displayed on the lockscreen.

Reddit user MaGNeTiX posted a series of screenshots taken on an iPhone running a beta version of the new iOS 9.3, showing the permanent homescreen message reading: 'This iPhone is managed by your organisation', and another under the General > About section under Settings, stating 'This iPhone is supervised. [Company name] can monitor your Internet traffic and locate this device'.

Although it's unknown whether Apple will definitely include the new feature in the full release of iOS 9.3, which is due imminently, the messages serve as a stark reminder for workers to treat information accessed through company handsets appropriately.

Businesses which issue employees iPhones as work handsets can monitor their use through a mobile device management (MDM) system.

The feature has emerged against the backdrop of Apple's ongoing battle with the FBI over user privacy, after it ordered the Californian company to aid it in investigating the San Bernardino shooting, which left 14 people in California dead, by creating a backdrop entry in Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5c. The phone had been issued to Farook by his employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

Apple refused to comply with the order on the grounds that it would create a "dangerous precedent". The Silicon Valley giant hopes the congressional committee will reach a legislative decision about whether or not law enforcement can ask private companies to hack their own stringent security measures.

Apple's argument is that creating a back door into this one phone is a security risk, as it could be exploited by criminals and governments alike to access personal information stored on the secure devices.

Earlier this week, the director of the FBI admitted that its legal battle with Apple would have been avoidable if it hadn't made the mistake of changing the password on the gunman's iPhone that permanently locked its data away.

"It was a mistake made in those 24 hours after the attack," Comey said, answering questions to a US congressional committee assessing the case. "We took steps that made it impossible later to cause the phone to backup again to the iCloud."

Comey claimed there's "no way" the FBI would have been able to retrieve all of the information from the backup. He has previously claimed that changing the iCloud password wasn't a mistake.

Other forthcoming features in iOS 9.3 include a night mode to improve sleep thanks to a shift in the light emanating from the display, and the ability to remove the default apps which clutter up your screen.

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