Report: Apple denies ever creating NSA backdoor to iPhone

Summary:In a memo to TechCrunch, the iPhone maker denies ever offering the NSA with special access to its special smartphone.


Even as the news slows down to mostly just reflections and top 10 lists covering hot topics over the last year, the NSA revelations haven't slowed down a bit.

Following a new report from Der Spiegel revealing NSA spyware embedded on hardware sources, tech giants such as Cisco, Western Digital and Seagate have quickly denied any compliance with the controverisal inteillgence methods.

Now Apple has come out with another line of defense on its own, centered around its prized flagship product of the moment, the iPhone, and the newly discovered NSA unit for accessing foreign computer systems, Tailored Access Operations (a.k.a. TAO).

A new Der Spiegel article on Monday alleged that the NSA had virtually 100 percent access to all communications being delivered in and out of the iOS smartphones around the world.

TechCrunch published a memo this morning said to be directly from Cupertino itself, denying creating any secret backdoors and denouncing the National Security Agency at the same time.

Here is a snippet from the memo:

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.

To recall, Apple was one of the nine tech giants noted as sources for the NSA's data-mining program, PRISM, which was first reported back in June by The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Those reports, and many subsequent scoops by other publications such as Der Spiegel and The New York Times, have been based on the documents leaked by former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden.

Apple, as well as all of the other companies cited as sources for the NSA's programs, has continuously denied any involvement or compliance.

Topics: Government, Apple, Data Management, iPhone, Security


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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