Apple Has a Public & Private Position on Privacy

It appears Hillary isn’t the only one that has both public and private positions. A leaked email shows that Apple does as well.

WikiLeaks has been steadily releasing leaked emails leading up to the debate. The revelations found within many of these emails are surely not something we wish to discuss here at UTB, that is until a certain email passed by our eyes that was right up our alley.

The email is one of those pesky Podesta emails. You know the ones. The hacked emails of John Podesta, Chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign. WikiLeaks has been releasing a steady flow of these emails to the public. As a BlackBerry user and fan, I can’t help but feel that this should be quite an advertisement for BES, but I digress. There is a bigger issue here.

The issue is the great encryption debate, which was blown to extraordinary proportions when Apple refused to comply with a court order to open an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist responsible for the deaths of 14 Americans and the injury of 22 others. This incident took place on December 2, 2015, and Apple immediately dug in it’s heels refusing to help crack this phone. Months later, Tim Cook wrote an open letter telling the populace at large that the FBI wanted Apple to provide the FBI a backdoor. While this is still an area of contention, the story had a happy ending, when a third party came forward and cracked the phone within hours of obtaining access.

This story resulted in something else though. This story resulted in Apple gaining a nearly instant reputation of having the top position in terms of mobile privacy and security. Of course, those of us that follow the mobile landscape know that this is not the case. Most of us can easily recall story after story of hacks on Apple products and services. However, this story was the biggest news story of the day, and we watched as big media told and retold the same story talking about the unhackable iPhone and it’s tip top security.

Even the CEO of our favorite brand BlackBerry had something to say about it. While Google, Facebook, and other large tech firms fell in line on the side of Apple, John Chen, the CEO of BlackBerry stood apart. Chen spoke of such things as being a good neighbor, and complying with lawful access. This was of course, twisted by many. Almost immediately, a commentary started spreading that BlackBerry was not secure. That BlackBerry had given backdoors to authorities. Of course, this is wrong. There is no denying that BlackBerry is the most secure mobile device, even through the three operating systems we’ve seen on their smartphones since their inception. BlackBerry was very clear about what information they will provide to the authorities. That information is metadata. Essentially the who’s, when’s, and where’s. Other information is simply not stored by BlackBerry. And as we have previously seen, BlackBerry is willing to pull their products and services from countries that demand a backdoor.

Yet people now believe that Apple does better than BlackBerry? Because they refused to comply with a court order to open a terrorists phone? A phone which was owned by a state agency that wished the phone to be opened? Yes, many people do believe that. They believe since Apple took this stance, that Apple is protecting their information from government investigation. Apple has obviously allowed this narrative to continue. This is their public position.

Their private position is different.

WikiLeaks did what WikiLeaks does, and leaked a Podesta email. This email was sent to John Podesta from Apple VP Lisa Jackson. The full email is copied below.

Last night
Date: 2015-12-20 17:26
Subject: Last night

Hi John,

I wanted to reach out to say thanks for the principled and nuanced stance the Secretary took last night on encryption and the tech sector. Leadership at Apple certainly noticed and I am sure that is true though out the Valley.

Please know that Apple will continue its work with law enforcement. We share law enforcement’s concerns about the threat to citizens and we work closely with authorities to comply with legal requests for data that have helped solve complex crimes. Thousands of times every month, we give governments information about Apple customers and devices, in response to warrants and other forms of legal process. We have a team that responds to those requests 24 hours a day. Strong encryption does not eliminate Apple’s ability to give law enforcement meta-data or any of a number of other very useful categories of data.

Tonight, Tim and Apple will be featured on “60 Minutes.” We expect encryption and taxes to be covered. In previews, Tim reacts strongly to the EU tax investigation of Apple and other American companies. We will amplify encryption messaging tomorrow when we publicly release our comments on the draft UK Investigatory Powers bill.

Best wishes to you and your family and the HRC family for a peaceful and joyous holiday season and a prosperous and bright 2016.


So there you have it. The next time you see someone commenting that BlackBerry provides information to the government, and Apple does not, just direct them to this email, and let them know that Apple VP Lisa Jackson confirmed that Apple does indeed provide the government information on Apple customers. Thousands of times every month.

We’ll just assume Apple considers this front door access.



Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.