Apple has rehired Jon Callas (again), the man who helped found Blackphone, Silent Circle, and PGP Corp. Callas previously designed an encryption system for Apple, having first worked for the company in the 90s, and later on from 2009 to 2011. Though Apple has confirmed that it rehired Callas in May, it has not revealed specifics about what he’ll be doing with the company, though it’ll no doubt be part of Apple’s efforts to further bolster its encryption.
Apple has been entangled in a long, often meandering and public battle with the U.S. government over user privacy, having most recently been in court over iPhone encryption. To the company’s chagrin, the FBI was provided with a third-party tool enabling it to unlock certain older models of the iPhone.
The FBI has thus far sidestepped informing Apple about how it accessed the iPhone, claiming ignorance of the underlying technology provided within the tool. Since then, the government has entertained legislation that, if passed into law, could force tech companies’ hands, requiring them to aid law enforcement in getting around encryption.
Many are against such legislation for obvious reasons, and the future of privacy is hazy, to understate things. Whether Apple is working on ways to mitigate that possible future legal imperative is unknown, but it’s clear the company is doubling down on its efforts, whatever those may be.
In the meantime, other tech companies have been improving their own security, and an increasing number of apps are providing consumers with data encryption. WhatsApp is one of the most recent apps to add encryption, with competitor Viber adding it soon after and rumor having it that Messenger may follow.