Two years ago, Apple’s iPhone was the biggest-selling mobile device in the world, accounting for nearly one-third of the global smartphone market.
That was before the company was forced to disclose in September 2016 that it had been hacked by a government agency, the National Security Agency.
The revelation was an extraordinary breach of trust for Apple, which had taken on more than $400 billion in the US government’s cyber defense program known as “CYBER SECURITY,” as well as a major breach of its privacy.
At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook was eager to talk about how the company had handled the breach.
“We’ve had a very good year.
I think the public’s response has been phenomenal,” Cook told the Wall Street Journal.
“People have been saying, ‘Wow, the government did something terrible,'” Cook said at the time.
But the company’s own internal investigation, published in January 2017, revealed that it was far from the only American company whose data had been compromised by the NSA.
And that was before US intelligence agencies began tapping directly into the communications of Apple users in a series of warrantless surveillance programs.
“I think the government had the tools to do what they did, and I think that’s a concern,” said Steve Clemons, the director of the National Privacy Institute at George Washington University.
Clemons called for an overhaul of the way the NSA works.
“The fact that the FBI is looking at that data at all points now in a warrantless manner is a problem,” Clemons said.
“There is a need to change the way we think about how we work with the federal government.”
In a statement, the NSA said it was “deeply concerned about the recent publication of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report.”
In its report, GAO found that the NSA “is not authorized to access any data stored by Apple, other than in the context of an authorized investigation, and that it is not authorized for its employees to access data stored on Apple systems.”
In other words, the agency cannot tap into the data of people who have not been subpoenaed to testify under oath.
The NSA said that its actions were “limited” in scope and that its “primary purpose was to protect the nation from foreign adversaries,” and not to listen in on their phone calls.
However, the report also said that the agency “does not have access to any data the NSA has not authorized access to.”
This summer, the FBI issued a report that it said “strongly supported” the findings of the GAO, saying that the bulk data collection was “appropriate and necessary to protect against foreign intelligence collection.”
The report said that “the data collected by the FBI from third parties does not include any information from communications involving individuals who have been ordered to cooperate with foreign intelligence operations.”
It said that, for example, “no data” from an American iPhone has ever been “deleted” from the NSA database.
However that may be, the fact that Americans were also tapped in this way may not have been enough for the FBI to determine that there was a warrant.
“It’s not a surprise that they would say that because they know it’s not true,” Clems said.
In a July 17, 2017 letter to the Justice Department, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents some of the people targeted by the spying program, said that while the NSA was technically right to access the data, the surveillance was unlawful.
The letter, signed by ACLU senior staff attorney Evan Greer, says the NSA may have “unduly targeted” certain groups, including Apple, because the agency has been monitoring the “phone conversations and online activities of American citizens and permanent residents in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.”
“This case demonstrates the importance of reforming the way that the federal agency collects data on Americans and how we must protect our privacy in the face of these unprecedented surveillance efforts,” the letter states.
“This collection of data does not help to solve the surveillance problem.
It is a major departure from our Constitution’s protections for individual privacy, and a grave intrusion on our fundamental rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression.”
While the ACLU says it was not contacted by the Justice to comment on the case, it says it has also received letters from people who say they were spied on.
“Our goal is to protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties,” the group said in a statement.
“In this case, the Justice and FBI have shown that they have not taken into account the important privacy concerns that have been raised.”
The government is still investigating the NSA program.
“As we’ve said before, we are going to continue to investigate this and continue to push for the public to understand the facts,” Justice Department spokesperson Rachel Badeaux said in