New report sheds light on Apple's shifting attitude towards law enforcement

Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 (Image credit: iMore)

A new report sheds some light on how Apple's stance on aiding law enforcement shifted over the years prior to its recent conflict with the FBI. The company apparently assisted law enforcement in a 2008 child abuse case in which evidence was thought to be on an iPhone. While the company said it needed a court order to unlock the device, they apparently went so far as to help write the language for the order.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Federal authorities joined the case in December 2008. Before seeking a federal search warrant for the iPhone, investigators consulted with Apple, according to a Justice Department brief filed last year in a separate case in Brooklyn.The company wanted a court order authorizing it to crack a customer's passcode. But it was otherwise cooperative: An Apple lawyer supplied the Justice Department with language to use in the agency's legal request for the order, according to the brief.

The company's attitude changed following the 2013 revelations by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, which revealed an ongoing mass surveillance program that had been undertaken by the U.S. government. Apple started strengthening the encryption on its devices in 2014.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.