Chances are you’ve heard about Prism, the alleged program that the NSA uses to tap into everyone’s … everything. To me, the Prism story is still so incredibly young, so incredibly misunderstood, that I’ve refrained from commenting about it.
But what about Apple? Today they issued a statement saying they never even heard of Prism until the media started asking them about it. Apple does admit however that the government, from time to time, asks them to hand over some data. Here’s the key quote:
“From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.”
Apple says that “conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption”, and even they can’t decrypt them, but this is the government we’re talking about. I’m sure they know a way, that or they can assign a supercomputer to do the decryption.
There’s a lot here to digest. Prism is still so incredibly confusing that all everyone can do is start screaming that everyone is somehow in danger. We’ll find out more information in due time, of course. Whether or not it’s useful is another question altogether.