Apple Can’t Unlock Your iPhone for the Police, Even With a Search Warrant
- By Matt Holden
- Sep 18, 2014
In the wake of the new mobile operating system iOS 8, Apple says it has made it impossible for the company to unlock phones and turn data over from iPhones and iPads to police; even when they have a warrant.
According to a report, Apple has drawn this line in the sand as other tech companies try to deflect allegations that they have participated in government efforts to collect user information. The latest encryption has been reworked in a way that prevents the company, as well as anyone but the device’s owner, from gaining access to the data stored on smartphones and tablets.
It does this at the moment of passcode creation. Apple used to maintain the ability to unlock some content for legally binding police requests but will no longer so via iOS 8.
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its website. “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 only Apple phones police will be capable of breaking into going forward are those that are too old to run the new operating system. This new change doesn’t apply to the iCloud, where Apple still has the legal responsibility to turn over user data that is stored elsewhere.
“This is a great move,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, in a report. “Particularly after the Snowden disclosures, Apple seems to understand that consumers want companies to put their privacy first. “However, I suspect there are going to be a lot of unhappy law enforcement officials.”
Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.