It is reported that when a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn New York asked Apple if it was able to access data stored on a locked iPhone, Apple Inc told the judge that it is “impossible” to unlock new iPhones to access data stored on devices using the latest operating(iOS 8 or higher). However, the company informed the judge that they have the “technical ability” to unlock older phones, therefore, will be able to aid law enforcement if they require unlocking older iPhones.
This fact was revealed in response to a request from the judge, James Orenstein, to help him make a decision whether to fulfill a U.S. Justice Department request that would have forced the tech giants to help the authorities gain access to the seized iPhones.
This revelation from Apple is not a surprise because it is the same thing the Cupertino-based company has said several times in the past. According to Apple, after iOS 8 the company has discontinued storing encryption keys for devices, making it nearly implausible to unlock iPhones and iPad as Apple cannot bypass a passcode to gain access to an iOS device.
In a summary filed with the court, Apple mentioned that almost 90 percent of the Apple devices are running iOS 8 or higher and are inaccessible but the company is able to access the remaining 10 percent of the devices which continue to use iOS 7 or below. It is also worth mentioning that the company told the judge that forcing Apple to adhere to the Justice Department’s request could tarnish its brand.
“Forcing Apple to extract data, in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,” Apple’s lawyers wrote.
Theses changes in Apple’s encryption, which were implemented in the year 2014 with iOS 8, are quite unpopular with some law enforcement officials. For example, According to FBI Director James Comey encryption implemented by companies like Apple and Google let people “place themselves above the law.”
However the policy of the company seems quite straightforward as just a few days ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook, while talking to an interviewer told that software backdoors are unacceptable which was basically restating Apple’s opinion on the subject.