Apple Categorically Denies Working with NSA on iPhone Backdoor

| News

The NSAApple categorically denied on Tuesday that it has ever worked with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to build a backdoor into the iPhone or any other Apple product. The company issued a statement in response to reports that the NSA had developed a way to access data, the camera, and apps on any iPhone under a program called DROPOUTJEEP.

Security researcher Jacob Applebaum revealed the program at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, citing papers he claimed were NSA documents. According to him, those documents claims a perfect record of being able to remotely install software onto an iPhone that allows the agency full access to the device.

He also explicitly accused Apple of either participating in the program or, and I quote, "writing shitty software." He did not provide any evidence of Apple cooperation, but Apple was still quick to issue a statement denying in participation or even awareness of the NSA's supposed efforts and abilities.

That statement:

Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers' privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements.

Publicly, Apple has steadfastly denied working with the NSA on any of its surveillance programs, though it does honor law enforcement warrants for information on a case by case basis. Tuesday's denial is in keeping with previous denials.

Comments

George Kafantaris

Even if Apple never helped NSA implement DROPOUT-JEEP, the invasive potential that can be programmed into the iPhone should give us pause.
According to Der Spiegel, the program “DROPOUT-JEEP can pull or push information onto the iPhone, snag SMS text messages, contact lists, voicemail and a person’s geolocation, both from the phone itself and from cell towers nearby. It can also turn the iPhone into a ‘hot mike,’ using the phone’s own microphone as a recording device and capture images via the iPhone’s camera.”
High time for us “iPhone zombies” to learn to turn the darn thing off.

Bryan Chaffin

Hi George,

I think it’s important to remember that Der Spiegel’s info was based on 5-year old documents. More importantly, DROPOUTJEEP required physical access to the device. Personally, I strongly doubt even the NSA can remotely install software on an iPhone—or even an Android device—without either physical access or user interaction (like a malicious webpage we either choose to visit or get tricked into visiting).

geoduck

George K.
Exactly right. Apple, Google, Microsoft, The NSA et.al. don’t NEED to work with them. They are perfectly capable of spying on and through your computers and devices without their help.

Robbo

I’d love to see all the tech giants stand together and reveal exactly what, when and how they ‘helped’ the NSA. Screw the NDA’s, let the chips fall as they fall. I’m certain the public outcry would force the government hand.
BTW, I live in UK and it’s very strange the way there is no public or official investigation of GCHQ. My bet is that should the NSA get even slightly castrated, GCHQ and the others would simply ‘fill in the gaps’.

gnasher729

Robbo, Apple just stated exactly that. If you think they are lying, say so. Apple is a publicly traded company, and lying in a statement like that would be a criminal offence.

geoduck

unless the NSA’s National Security Letter stipulates that they cannot say anything.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_security_letter

 

gnasher729

geoduck: Well observed. If Apple doesn’t say anything then we can assume that there is something that they are not allowed to say. However, they are saying something. Nobody can order Apple to lie.

Lancashire-Witch

Anyone who thinks large companies are not sometimes economical with the truth has probably never worked in the Pharmaceutical industry. - IMHO.
( or Banking - as SWMBO has just reminded me! )

Log-in to comment