Julian Sanchez, Cato Institute:
Can you, for instance, log in from a Web browser, reset your password, and then restore your content to a new device? If you can—and with Appleâ€™s iCloud services, you can—then the cloud provider must itself hold the keys to unlock that data. So iMessages may not be interceptable from a suspectâ€™s cell carrier, but Apple has to be capable of handing them over when the authorities come knocking with a warrant.
I have thought, up until now, iMessage texts were impervious to NSA’s PRISM-like surveillance systems because of its end-to-end encryption scheme. Unfortunately, iMessage texts might be more susceptible than SMS because all iMessage texts are stored on Apple’s iCloud servers, indefinitely. On the other hand SMS messages are stored at cellular carriers for only a few days or not at all, a sore point law enforcement has been complaining about for a while.
The option of setting an expiration date for iMessage texts would be a terrific feature for those who value privacy over the convenience of having your entire iMessage text history.