Although Apple frequently emphasizes the security of iMessage, the Secret Service might find it a little bit too secure.

On January 5, 2021, the day before the uprising at the US Capitol, and on January 6, 2021, the day of the uprising, the agency deleted text messages from government employees’ work-issued phones. Before the Department of Homeland Security and lawmakers requested any information, the Secret Service “reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration,” according to Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications for the Secret Service. “In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.”

That rankled the parliamentarians looking into the attack. In order to avoid such a loss of crucial data in the future, the agency may forbid staff from using iMessage on company-issued phones, according to Politico reports (Opens in a new window) .

Tweet (Opens in a new window) According to Guglielmi, we are truly paying great attention to this. Director James Murray has asked for a benchmarking study to look more closely at the viability of turning off iMessage and see if there would be any operational repercussions.

On July 15, 2022, the January 6th Committee (Opens in a new window) summoned the Secret Service. The document (Opens in a new window) requests that the agency provide over any texts sent between January 5, 2021, and January 7, 2021, about the events on January 6, 2021.


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On July 19, the Secret Service provided hundreds of records to the committee, but omitted the deleted text messages. The agency declared that procedures were being taken to retrieve the messages.

Unlike conventional text conversations transmitted via SMS, iMessages are securely locked down by multiple encryption steps (Opens in a new window) before being stored for 30 days on Apple servers. According to Politico, this implies that the Secret Service is unable to backup the texts, pictures, and emails exchanged by government employees that are stored on its central device management system.

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