Over the weekend, German news magazine Der Spiegel published leaked documents from Edward Snowden that showed the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Access Network Technology (ANT) division had access to specialized hardware that would allow them to spy on people through a variety of ways, one of them including a “backdoor” to Apple’s iPhone.
Since then, tech writers, bloggers, and Apple-haters around the globe have been accusing the iPad maker of collaborating with the government to spy on U.S. citizens. One commenter on an unrelated blog post said iOS 7 should be changed to “iOS/NSA 7.”
Today, Apple sent an official statement to AllThingsD, which says the company is unaware of the NSA’s program targeting the iPhone, known as DROUPOUTJEEP. Additionally, Apple also stated that it works hard to protect user privacy, regardless of who is trying to access information.
“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. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”
Further investigation from AllThingsD revealed that DROUPOUTJEEP would require “close access methods.” Meaning that an agent would have to physically install the spy hardware in order to access it. At the time, the program stated that remote installment was “in the works.”
Additionally, the leaked slide regarding DROPOUTJEEP, dated Oct. 2008, showed the program as “in development,” which means that the spyware may not have ever been implemented at all. None of the leaked documents have shown any further work on the DROUPOUTJEEP program for later versions of iOS devices.