Apple: We didn’t Give FBI iPhone UDID Codes

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Apple says it didn't give the FBI UDID codesApple claims it never gave the FBI UDID codes and other personal information from customers. The hacker group Antisec released a million iOS device UDID codes -- the codes that uniquely identify each iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Apple makes -- earlier this week while claiming it snatched the data from an FBI laptop.

"The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization," said Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris, according to Bloomberg.

Before Apple offered up its statement, the FBI denied having the database, too, saying "At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data."

Antisec, however, claimed it stole a database with over 12 million UDID codes from an FBI laptop belonging to Special Agent Christoper K. Stangl. The group published 1 million codes from the list, but has since failed to offer any additional details even after Gawker complied with demands that it post photos of one of its journalists wearing a tutu along with a shoe on his head.

With Apple and the FBI both denying any involvement, there still aren't any verifiable explanations as to how the group got ahold of the UDID list.

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The FBI says it didn't ask for the database, and Apple says the FBI never came knocking on its door looking for the database, both of which are likely accurate statements. Assuming Antisec really did get the information from an FBI laptop, the easiest explanation is that it was copied by someone at the agency when a server used by Instapaper was accidentally seized last year.

What we do know is that Antisec claims to have 12 million UDID codes, along with other personally identifying information about iPhone, iPad and iPod touch device owners, and that the group doesn't have any problems with apparently hacking into government computers. Knowing that an FBI agent likely had the database, and that it's also in the hands of a hacker group, doesn't do much to raise confidence in computer and online privacy.

No doubt the FBI has already started an investigation into where the data came from and how it landed in Antisec's lap, and it's a safe bet that after more information comes out someone will have some uncomfortable questions to answer.

Update: Marco Arment, Instapaper's developer, says that the FBI seized a CPU but not any disks, which means the agency shouldn't have had access to any files. That being the case, it doesn't seem likely that the FBI, either intentionally or by accident, took the database from Instapaper's records.

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