Apple — maker of the iPhone — will change certain security settings and operating system code to once again block law enforcement from gaining access to information on seized phones.
Apple infamously got into a confrontation with the FBI when the company refused to help federal investigators gain access to data stored on the phone of one of the attackers who killed 14 people and injured 22 others in a December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.
“Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor,” Apple CEO Tim Cook at the time said in a written statement. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
The company contends that the new security measures are targeted to “help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data,” according to a report by threatpost.com, a website that provides information about IT and business security.
In making the announcement about the new security measures, the company said in a prepared statement, “We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”
But critics pounced on the tech giant.
Republican Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said that the move gives precedence to criminals and terrorists over the safety of the American people.
“If Apple is willing to store Chinese customers’ data on a state-owned firm’s servers, then it should be more than willing to cooperate with valid warrants from U.S. law enforcement,” Cotton said.
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