Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Apple | iOS8 | cybersecurity | iPhone | iPad

Apple's New Operating System Locks Out Police

By    |   Thursday, 18 September 2014 06:50 AM

Apple has engineered its new iOS 8 operating system with encryption that makes smartphone or tablet data nearly inaccessible to anyone but the owner. This means that Apple will be unable to comply with law enforcement search warrants or court orders, The Washington Post reported.

The new engineering means that Apple can basically guarantee the privacy of its customers while remaining on the right side of the law. Only the owner or others using a password can access a device and the data it holds, the Post reported.

The company was responding to costumers' privacy concerns in the wake of last year's Edward Snowden revelations about National Security Agency snooping. Apple was also reacting to the breach of celebrity Apple accounts that led to the exposure of intimate photos.

"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data," Apple said about the new operating system. "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."

The company has informed the law enforcement community that it no longer retains encryption keys to unlocked devices. Apple has made compliance with legal demands to collect iPhone and tablet information unworkable.

Only devices too antiquated to run iOS 8 can be unlocked by Apple.

All data stored in its iCloud will be accessible to the company and therefore to law enforcement so long as users set their devices to backup photographs, music and other data to the cloud, the Post reported.

Reaction to the move was divided.

The ACLU's Christopher Soghoian said it was "a great move" and put privacy foremost. Former FBI official Ronald Hosko said Apple's policy would make it harder for authorities to prevent or solve crimes and to conduct legally sanctioned surveillance. He implied that a major terrorist attack could well reverse the company's decision, according to the Post.

One downside of the new policy: Users who forget their code will be unable to recover any data not automatically backed up on iCloud.

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Apple has engineered its new iOS 8 operating system with encryption that makes smartphone or tablet data nearly inaccessible to anyone — including law enforcement officials — who isn't the owner.
Apple, iOS8, cybersecurity, iPhone, iPad
Thursday, 18 September 2014 06:50 AM
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