Apple has upped the digital privacy ante by taking itself out of game. How’s that? If the police serve Apple with a search warrant for the data on your iPhone 6 Plus, with the new iOS 8 security policy, Apple can’t give the police anything. Wow? Yeah, wow!
Yes, Tim Cook has published an open letter to the public, and the police, lawing down the company’s iOS 8 security policy and it is very much a breath of fresh air.
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” writes Apple’s Cook. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) September 18, 2014
Suck it NSA? In this post-Snowden age, those words will be music to many people’s ears.
iOS 8 Security: Nothing to Hide?
As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims’ iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place. But one step in the hackers’ sext-stealing playbook has been ignored—a piece of software designed to let cops and spies siphon data from iPhones, but is instead being used by pervy criminals themselves — Wired.
Previously, Apple said it could provide law enforcement with call, SMS, photo, GPS, etc data. Now, even with a search warrant from the police, etc., iOS 8 security means Apple can do nothing.
Granted, a technically savvy government, corporation or even individual could possibly get around Apple’s new iOS 8 security policy (ie via pairing records). Further, it will be unsurprising if law enforcement et al try to force the issue with Apple in the courts.
And, of course, the US Congress has more than played along with the NSA and other supra national actors in the past (ie Patriot Act).
“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products,” adds Apple’s Cook. “We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers.”
Apple isn’t perfect, far from it. However, it would be more than nice if Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, etc adopted iOS 8 security-like policies of their own…
What’s your take?