“The changes were made predominantly to cover new features in iOS 8, or to provide additional information on current use of data such as your date of birth or information you’ve provided about others,” the company explained in the introduction.
The change was accompanied with a message from Apple CEO Tim Cook:
A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.
Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.
He concluded by saying that the company has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of their products or services, and that they have also never allowed access to our servers and that they don’t plant to, ever.
The sentiment was reiterated in a webpage dedicated to explaining how they deal with government information requests.
“The most common requests we receive for information come from law enforcement in the form of either a Device Request or an Account Request,” the company explained, adding that their legal team carefully reviews each one.
But, with iOS 8, Apple has made it so that it’s impossible for them to extract information protected by the passcode set by the user, as they will no longer keep the encryption keys created with the selection of the passcode.
“On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode,” they explained.
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
But, they could still be legally forced to turn over data that the user stores in the iCloud.