Chinese authorities announce removal of encryption technology from Apple’s AirDrop service

Chinese authorities say they have found a solution to identify users of mobile phone encryption service AirDrop.camel“In principle, it allows content to be shared anonymously with another nearby device of the same brand,” according to AFP.

Chinese authorities are already closely monitoring the media and the internet, censoring any content they believe may reflect negatively on the country's policies or potentially spark unrest.

To evade censorship, the iPhone may have created a loophole through its “AirDrop” feature, which works without being connected to the internet. The report said this feature particularly made it possible to broadcast slogans critical of the ruling Communist Party on mobile phones after rare demonstrations in Beijing in October 2022.

Apple, whose main market is China, has taken steps to limit the feature.

Beijing's judicial department reportedly confirmed on Monday that a local agency was able to crack AirDrop's encryption.

According to authorities, this step ends the ability to mask the identity of the user and allows the determination of the transmitter number and its owner’s phone number, as well as his email address.

AFP was unable to independently verify the allegations, the report said.

The statement from authorities did not specify whether the technology had led to arrests or convictions for sharing illegal content.

All iPhones sold in China since 2022 will automatically disable the AirDrop option after 10 minutes. This process significantly reduces the likelihood of accidentally receiving files from strangers, thereby exchanging sensitive messages without supervision.

This restriction has since been expanded to include Apple devices in other parts of the world.

Apple's products, from iPhones to iPads, are hugely popular in China, one of the U.S. group's main markets outside the United States.

The Apple brand has always avoided taking a stand on sensitive topics or interfering with Chinese authorities. The company's CEO has been received several times by senior officials including heads of state.

In 2019, Apple found itself in the spotlight of state media for allowing the launch of an app that could locate police on a map in Hong Kong, a service that faced criticism at a time when the city was witnessing massive pro-democracy demonstrations. Activity.

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