Alabama’s governor was undone, in part, by Apple’s iCloud

“The governor of Alabama was undone, in part, by Apple’s iCloud,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Apple 3.0.


Section III B1: Mrs. Bentley’s suspicions:

On other occasions, Ms. Bentley was able to read text messages sent by her husband to Mason because he had given Ms. Bentley his state-issued iPad, not understanding that it shared the same ‘cloud’ as his state-issued iPhone and granted equal access to all message functions. It was through such text messages that other members of the Bentley family first learned of the affair.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Various parts of iCloud syncing [Messages, Photos, etc.] can be quite revealing when used by those who do not understand how it works.

See also “Robert Bentley resigns: Tracing the rise and fall of Alabama’s ex-governor” here.

Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey was worn in as Alabama’s 54th governor on April 10, 2017.


  1. And after all these decades of being told that Apple does the thinking for the user, so they don’t need to know…this!

    The there is the much ballyhooed ‘privacy’ righteousness. If this were MS, or Google, how would you react? C’mon you’ve done it so many times.

    1. This is likely just someone who “family shared” their private iCloud info with another person. Sure it makes sharing pictures easy BUT it shares ALLL of them.

      In every place where you can enable family sharing, it mentions “share all yer stuffs”, so if you turn it on KNOWING that, there’s nothing MS, Google or anyone can do to stop stupids.

      1. I agree Apple has no responsibility to protect users from themselves. However the very ‘ease of use’ where the user has less to think about also gave rise to laziness in this case. Just an unfortunate side effect of trying to make something ‘simple’ and promoting your products that way.

          1. Family Sharing doesn’t apply to Messages. This is not a Family Sharing issue.

            The “issue” is that if you log into Messages on Device A, Device A then has access to your Messages. If you then give Device A to your wife, your wife has access to your Messages. Surprise!

            The guy probably got confused because he thought a message could only exist on a single device. He might also think that if you read an email on Computer A, nobody else in the world can ever read that email (without access to Computer A), because it’s now on Computer A, and it can’t be two places at once (which might have sort of been true a couple decades ago if you were using POP).

    2. @applecynic,
      Not sure I get your point. iCloud worked as expected, what failed here was the governer understanding. He shared his info, a step he initiated, not Apple.

      So why the hate? How does Apple prevent something the USER wants to do?

      You do need to have some understanding of things you use. For example cruise control on a car. You don’t set it and then go to the back and make a sandwich, but according to you, it’s the car makers fault. Huh?!?!

      1. I get what happened, and I would get on Apple’s case on this if they didn’t insist on being the IT department for iOS devices (they are).

        So it’s a design flaw. It was not foreseen and not prevented. To put it in loathsome MBA terms.. iOS devices get hired to prevent these kind of things….

      2. Not only did the Governor share. He provided his wife with a state-issued iPad. That is not only stupid, it is likely illegal and a security violation to boot.

        The idiot was too cheap to buy an iPad for his wife. Karma is wonderful when it works.

        1. While I agree with he acted stupidly and created a security violation by sharing a state paid for iPad with his wife and shouldn’t have done this and I don’t take joy like you do in the down fall of anyone getting caught in his sin, whether on the right or left. It’s not karma, it’s called reaping what you sow and clearly one more pathetic politician sowed some bad seed and is reaping the consequences of that.

    3. To all those who try to blame Apple for this, I have just two words . . .
      Apple gave information access to those who it belonged to, the state.

  2. Apple’s default method of syncing is easy and convenient for ONE person to use on SEVERAL devices. When another person is involved, you had better understand what you are doing or, looks to me, you could lose your job. Unless, of course, you have nothing to hide.

    1. That’s one thing my brother in law hated about the syncing where any new device connected to the account would initially sync everything so the device contained exactly what the other devices on the same account had including a huge number of Apps. If Apple had device profiles for each device and allowed you at initial setup/link to an account to select a device profile or select ala-carte the things you do want to sync he would have stayed with the iOS ecosystem. As it is he has gone whole hog into Android devices across the board. One iPad, a credit to its longevity, is still in use but when that dies it will probably be replaced by an Android or FireOS tablet.

  3. Shows you just how tech clueless the political class is. The same folks who would ignorantly demand all phones hackable. Shades of Hillary! Also undone by stupid tech decisions or lack of tech knowledge. Not enough politicians are tech-savvy. Dangerous in these times.

    1. Its not the “political class”, it is the general public, who in spite of warnings do not comprehend the reality of it all.

      My wife who is very religious, conservative, moral, ethical etc, enjoys old movies and movie trailer sites. She guards what she watches fairly close. Even back 2007 or 8, I told her that those pop up ads that jump in front of buttons recorded her tracks. She didn’t believe me. I opened her browser and went to the prefs, went to website data in a couple of forms and showed her sites she didn’t know she had clicked on accidentally or were tracking her.

      IF anyone has done search on Google, Google keeps a record of your searches going back to the beginning. If a family member knows your password, they can find what you searched for 10 years ago.

      It is not the “iCloud” only, and it is not politicians only, it is the general public!

  4. Need a little wizard in iOS that starts off with some questions…

    • Are you cheating on your spouse or significant other?
    • Might you cheat on your spouse or significant other?
    • Do you take photos of your private parts?
    • Are you a politician?

    OR . . . . people can take a little time and determine the obvious, PARTICULARLY if they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing and/or in a high profile position in which millions of people will be paying attention. Just my $.02 on that.

  5. A question here – given that people of a state directly elect their governors does this mean Kay Ivey is only temporary until an election is organised, or does she now stay governor for the duration of Bentley’s original term?

    1. Not sure if it differs between States, but it probably depends on how much time is left in the vacated term and how much money the State has available to conduct a Special Election if needed.

  6. Like most Conservatives who wrap themselves in the Flag and Jesus he had skeletons in his closet and got caught with his Johnson in his hand. The only difference between this and most Republicans is it did not involve Hookers or Closeted Homosexuality or Sadomasochism.

    Gawd’s Own Party= Gang Of Perverts

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