They have denied it before and they will deny it again: Apple has no idea why, how of if the National Security Agency can bug your iPhone, and they certainly aren't helping the spying agency do it.
Apple released a statement Tuesday denying any cooperation with the NSA, again, and condemning the spy agency's alleged hacking of their phones. "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," the company said, per AllThingsD. "We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them."
On Monday, Der Spiegel and security researcher Jacob Appelbaum leaked NSA documents, taken from a hacking software and hardware catalogue from the Access Network Technology division. The new slides revealed the NSA's ability to track and even control much of the information on your iPhone, through iOS. Using a special software implant, called DROPOUTJEEP, the NSA can read text messages, contact lists, listen to voice mail, retrieve a phone's location, and turn on the iPhone's microphone and camera, among other things.
But the slide contained one suspicious piece of information: the NSA could not, at the time, install the iPhone software wirelessly. The slide was dated for October, 2008. In order to track an iPhone, the NSA's software had to be installed manually.
NSA agents are probably more than capable of snatching a target's iPhone, installing spy software and replacing it before the target notices. That happens in, like, every spy movie, ever. Or, Apple cooperates and installs the backdoor during production, enabling the NSA to watch every iPhone in circulation right now. Either reality is believable. Apple tried to kill that second possible theory today.
Apple was one of eight major tech companies, along with Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others, who signed letters to Congress and the President demanding sweeping surveillance reforms. The President has yet to call them back. He uses a Blackberry, because iPhones aren't secure enough.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.