Apple often touts its improved device security as a selling feature. Now they are backing their words up with considerable actions.
In response to the U.S Justice Department asking Magistrate Judge James Orenstein to force Apple to help extract information from a seized iPhone, Apple filed a brief that basically says, “nah bruh.”
Okay, it says more than that. Simply put, Apple claims that any device running iOS 8 or later cannot be accessed by anyone other than the owner of the phone.
In most cases now and in the future, the government’s requested order would be substantially burdensome, as it would be impossible to perform. For devices running iOS 8 or higher, Apple would not have the technical ability to do what the government requests—take possession of a password protected device from the government and extract unencrypted user data from that device for the government. Among the security features in iOS 8 is a feature that prevents anyone without the device’s passcode from accessing the device’s encrypted data. This includes Apple.
Apple is not necessarily refusing to help. They are basically saying it’s impossible for them to help, even if they wanted to. Smartphone data is a whole new issue for law enforcement. Whether police have the right to search through a suspect’s phone without a warrant has already become a contentious issue in a few different legal cases.
As technology continues to make the world smaller, and privacy is slowly becoming harder and harder to obtain, it’s kind of refreshing that a huge corporation like Apple is building security into their devices that not even they can hack into.