The intelligence community and American law enforcement officials are none too happy with Apple, The New York Times reports.
With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and iOS 8, Apple has provided customers with a phone that encrypts emails, pictures and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code unique to the phone's owner, something that Apple says it does not have access to.
The result, the company is essentially saying, is that if Apple is sent a court order demanding that the contents of an iPhone 6 be provided to intelligence agencies or law enforcement, it will turn over gibberish, along with a note saying that to decode the phone’s emails, contacts and photos, investigators will have to break the code or get the code from the phone’s owner.
Breaking the code, according to an Apple technical guide, could take “more than 5 1/2 years to try all combinations of a six-character alphanumeric passcode with lowercase letters and numbers.” (Computer security experts question that figure, because Apple does not fully realize how quickly the N.S.A. supercomputers can crack codes.)
“What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to hold themselves beyond the law," said F.B.I Director James B. Comey at a Thursday news conference.
Needless to say, some Americans are happy about the potential.
All hail the Apple iPhone 6 and it's new encryption technology - buah bye NSA— Lance Gordon (@LGordonPoker) September 27, 2014
Others, however, are quite skeptical.
"Are you worried about the #NSA? Are you ignorant of how surveillance and encryption work? The iPhone 6 is the device for you!"— Dirk Starchaser (@wecanwait) September 27, 2014