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Apple Refutes Report On iPhone Threat To China's National Security 134

An anonymous reader writes "Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers," the company said Sunday in a bilingual statement on its China website. Users have to make the choice to enable the iPhones to calculate their locations, while "Apple does not track users' locations — Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so," the company said. The statement was in response to allegations by China's top state broadcaster that iOS7 software and its "Frequent Location" service posed a security risk. The data can be accessed easily, although labelled as "encrypted," and may lead to the disclosure of "state secrets," CCTV said.
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Apple Refutes Report On iPhone Threat To China's National Security

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  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:44AM (#47448543)

    The NSA's actions will be regarded as the modern Smoot-Hawley which set forth the collapse in sales in one of America's last major export industries that set it into motion.

    Though in fairness to the NSA, the American people are to blame for their "want my cake and eat it too" mentality on intelligence gathering. When it was discovered that the CIA did a lot of Really Bad Things because, shocker, that's par for the course in normal boots on the ground intelligence work we switched to electronics surveillance and created this mess.

  • by Galaga88 ( 148206 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:56AM (#47448639)

    As much as I love Apple's hardware and services their online services have always been pretty poor. Do we really think the company behind .Mac, or rather, MobileMe, er, iCloud would be competent enough to log and manage the amount of data this would require?

  • by Cardoor ( 3488091 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:57AM (#47448659)
    "As we have stated before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services."
    could just as easily mean, 'we havent worked WITH govt agencies.. but when they told us to step aside and let their devs in to commandeer a subroutine, we turned a blind/black-box eye'
    We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.
    oh, they 'feel strongly' about it? how comforting. and how do they define 'allow'? notice they dont say govt/others never HAD or HAVE access, just that it's not 'allowed'.. mmmkay..
  • Dear Apple, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CeasedCaring ( 1527717 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:58AM (#47448665)
    Saying it ain't so don't make it not so.
  • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:06AM (#47448711)
    I'm not sure if this is a moving goalposts or no real scotsman issue. How can apple issue a denial that would satisfy people like you? Surely anything would be picked apart.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:07AM (#47448719)

    It's all about product protection for their home-grown models. iPhone is a big seller - China gets pennies on the profit dollar for mfg them.

    Huawei models will no doubt get the Beijing security nod, nomatter what.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:09AM (#47448733)

    I think that's exactly their viewpoint. It's a national risk because they can't spy on their own people with it.

  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:14AM (#47448793)

    Based on published information, we know that the NSA gets customer information by compelling companies to produce the records, or it taps the connections between their datacenters and it gets the data in transit). Apple didn't deny either -- neither one of those involve installing a backdoor or giving SERVER access.

    I think you're on the right track. There really is nothing that Apple can say to convince foreign users that their data is safe.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:40AM (#47449001)
    The actual claim that the Chinese make is that a new feature in iOS collects location data on the phone (which it does), and if the phone gets stolen or hacked, someone might see that data and that could have all kinds of consequences, worst case consequences for China's national security. So there was _no_ claim that Apple was involved or helping in any spying at all.

    To a software developer it should be obvious that if Apple wanted to spy on you, the presence or absence of this feature wouldn't make the slightest difference whatsoever. If Apple can secretly send data that were openly collected on your phone, they could equally easily secretly send data that was secretly collected on your phone.

    To a non-developer, it should be equally obvious that there are hundreds of features with the same national security implications, like word processors, spreadsheets, note-taking applications and so on and so on. Probably applications that are far more dangerous. I would expect a word processor to contain much juicier information than a location log.
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Monday July 14, 2014 @12:13PM (#47449243)

    Curious in that Apple iPhone was the only piece of gear that could be relied upon to be cracked. Any model.

    If it was so easy, why does it take physical access to break into one, and why does Law Enforcement have a huge waiting list at Apple to break into them? (And only partial success, at that)?

    If they can be reliably cracked, then there is no need to send the phone back to Apple for extraction of data - they could just extract it right then and there, no Apple involvement at all. Because Apple makes it highly inconvenient to get at it, after all.

    Of course, if you're talking about jailbreaking, well, that's not utterly reliable, either (few existed for iOS6, and iOS7 has some by questionable Chinese places seeking to make money selling pirated apps). Of course, it also helps there is massive interest in cracking it - I mean, with so many devices out there, there is an army of people who will want to break into it.

    But all the jailbreaks tended to require actual access to the device - if it was locked in any way you couldn't do it - no longer can you just create a hacked IPSW and flash it in.

  • The Chinese security services are not as bad as the NSA. They freely admit that they monitor everything happening on their networks as they have no reason to hide it. In fact they are proud as it shows they are protecting their people.

    There is a genuine security concern with any American products now, thanks to the NSA. Don't try to divert people by saying everyone else is as bad or making excuses. The NSA is harming US companies and US citizens through its actions, and other countries are right to treat it as a major security threat.

I've got a bad feeling about this.