Thursday, March 30, 2023

You Can No Longer Have End-to-End Encrypted Safari Bookmarks

Apple released an unexpected update just a few days ago, revealing that Safari bookmarks will have encrypted from beginning to end. It may seem inconsequential, but for people who place a high value on their privacy, this was a welcome improvement. We say “was” because it appears that Apple changed its mind a week later and decided to withdraw its support.

The support page for Safari says that bookmarks are now encrypted only while in transit and on the server, not both. To be fair, we can’t tell whether the listing of Safari bookmarks as being end-to-end encrypted. May be it was an error that Apple discovered. And is now correcting or if they simply decided that they didn’t want it to happen.

For those who are wondering what the big issue is, end-to-end encryption basically meant that you were the only one who had access to the encryption keys on your devices. This implies that even if Apple wanted to know what kind of bookmarks you made in Safari. They would not be able to find out from you.

Apple, on the other hand, will safeguard your bookmarks from being read or intercepted. While they have being synced to iCloud. As well as if someone were to attempt to hack the company’s iCloud servers. Because they have encrypted in transit and on the server. But it also means that Apple now controls your encryption. So if law enforcement were to make a request for your data, Apple would theoretically be able to provide it to them unencrypted if the request came from them.

While we’re not sure if the inclusion of end-to-end encryption was a mistake from the start. It’s something you should be aware of going forward.

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