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Apple could share your iMessage contacts with law enforcement

Startling reports on Wednesday have revealed Apple is logging data on who iMessage app users are attempting to contact.

The data stored on Apple services includes the names and iMessage contact details of stored contacts, the date and time of the request, and the user’s IP address.

Apple has long said it can’t read, and doesn’t want to read, the contents of your messages. However, it does need to check whether potential recipients have iMessage accounts, so the messages can be directed accordingly.

This data is stored on servers for 30 days before being deleted, but in that time Apple can build up a pretty decent picture of who the Apple device owner is trying to contact.

Related: iPhone 7 review

This information, reported by The Intercept, is important when it comes to Apple’s relationship with law-enforcement agencies.

In a statement, Apple has confirmed that it does pass these logs over to the police when there are valid subpoenas and court orders.

“In some cases, we’re able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices,” the company says (via The Verge).

“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.”

The Intercept received its information from a Florida law-enforcement agency detailing the information Apple can hand over.

So, if you’re associating with known undesirables via iMessage and get a knock on the door from the cops, you know who’s to blame.

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