Following this week’s revelation that the NSA has monitored all important actions on the iPhone since 2008, Apple has flatly denied that it had any involvement in Project DROPOUTJEEP, the codename for the NSA’s system.
“We have never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products,” the company said.
If Apple is to be believed, the NSA managed to accomplish all of this on their own. More importantly, Apple’s statement denies prior knowledge of the program. Which is just as concerning.
Not that Apple would ever publicly say that they did know, unless Tim Cook suddenly had no interest in making money ever again.
Apple has insisted that it “cares deeply about customers’ privacy,” but given their track record of collecting users’ geolocation data without their consent, how likely is it that they only learned the depths of the NSA’s monitoring when the American public did?
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It’s something to consider, that Apple may have developed the program along with the NSA, but it does seem silly to help build an access port to millions of devices so the federal government can spy on the American people. Regardless of motive, it’s a huge risk to take -- information like that couldn’t stay secret forever, not in our digital world.
Not to villainize Apple -- we already know that the NSA was able to hack into companies like Google without their knowledge, and it’s not like Microsoft is innocent in all these data-collection shenanigans -- but there’s yet to be public evidence that Apple had any hand in DROPOUTJEEP’s development or implementation.
Yet it’s hard to believe that the NSA could have had complete access to Apple’s products for half a decade without the smart people in Cupertino catching on.
One more thing to consider, another part of Apple’s statement:
“We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers.”
So ... does that mean that the NSA counts as a “malicious” group? Or are they excluded because companies are often legally compelled to comply with the government?