Apple denies aiding NSA with iPhone hack technology

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Apple is denying it helped the National Security Agency develop and use a system that taps into iPhones and monitors users’ texts and voice mails — technology that was alleged by recently released documents published by a Germany newspaper.

Der Spiegel published this week a story that accused the NSA of aggressively pursuing software that gave agents remote access to all iPhones and the ability to tap into text messages, photographs, contacts, voice-mail message, videos and information disclosing the users’ location.

The newspaper claimed the NSA launched an operation in 2008 called DROPOUTJEEP, a “software implant” that allowed for the retrieval of iPhone data and was actually a “trojan” malware program for hackers.

Der Spiegel didn’t specify where it obtained its documentation of the NSA’s supposed program. But The Daily Mail reported that editors there have received information in the past from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Der Spiegel also didn’t actually accuse Apple of helping the NSA with the technology.

But Apple sent out a statement about the matter, anyway.

The company, headquartered in California, said it never helped the NSA compromise the security of its iPhone and vowed to “defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them,” The Daily Mail reported.

The company also said: “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 NSA, meanwhile, sidestepped comment on the accusations in the Der Spiegel newspaper, but said that the purpose of “any given technology is driven by the use of that technology by foreign intelligence targets. The United States pursues its intelligence mission with care to ensure that innocent users of those same technologies are not affected,” The Daily Mail said.

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