Apple has commented on the DROPOUTJEEP program, which a security researcher claimed let the NSA and similar government agencies compromise iOS devices, enable cameras and mics, and track data with a "100% success" rate. Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch got the statement:
Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.
That's as direct and no-nonsense a comment from a company as I've seen on this stuff, which means either it's genuine, or if it ever comes to light that someone in power did know about or facilitate any of these programs, they're done.
I do know people at Apple who care very deeply about this stuff, who feel just as violated, and want to be protected from any all all such attacks every bit as much as we do. They all use their own products, iPhones and iPads and Macs, and have a vested interest in maintaining their privacy as much as ours.
The best case scenario, sadly, is that we'll see another arms-race, with companies who genuinely do value privacy working on better ways to protect data while those who seek to compromise them work on yet more ways to circumvent whatever they come up with.
Hell of a way to end a year.