Apple To Lock Out Police from IPhone, iPad Data Even With Warrant


Apple will make it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police even when they have a search warrant, taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information, the Washington Post reports. The move, announced with a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with court orders, Apple has reworked encryption in a way that prevents the company or anyone but the device's owner from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for 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.” “This is a great move,” said Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union. “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.”

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