Apple (AAPL) - Get Report has quietly dropped plans that would have enabled iPhone users to fully encrypt their devices, Reuters reported, a revelation that comes with the tech giant taking heat from the Trump administration in the fallout over a Saudi officer's shooting rampage at a Pensacola naval base.
Without any public announcement, Apple dropped plans two years ago that would have given access to iPhone owners to full encryption services, enabling them to lock access to the data in the backups to their devices in the company's iCloud service, Reuters reported.
The story comes as Apple finds itself under attack from the FBI and President Donald Trump over what they have characterized as the company's reluctance to help unlock the Saudi shooter's two iPhones.
Apple has rejected this characterization, noting it has turned over the backups to the accused Saudi killer's phones while also claiming it has provided substantial, behind-the-scenes help to the FBI on other, unrelated issues, according to Reuters.
Shares of Apple edged down 0.28% Tuesday to $317.83.
Apple originally had planned to offer "end to end encryption" to iPhone users through the tech company's iCloud service, Reuters reported, citing one current and one former Apple employee and three former FBI officials.
Once the data was encrypted and stored away on the company's cloud platform, Apple would not have had the key to retrieve it should the government later demand access to the data on the customer's iPhone.
While the tech giant's aim was to thwart hackers, the FBI strongly objected to the plan, arguing it would severely hamper its investigative abilities, Reuters reported.