Apple denies handing over UDIDs to FBI or anyone else

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First, the FBI denied possessing 12 million unique device IDs (UDIDs) tied to Apple iOS devices that hacking group Anonymous says it stole from an FBI agent’s computer. Now Apple is denying any knowledge or transmission of those UDIDs to the law enforcement agency as well. All of this calls into question the original story that the hackers told.

Here’s what Apple told AllThingsD on Wednesday about the millions of device IDs in question:

‘The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization. Additionally, with iOS 6 we introduced a new set of APIs meant to replace the use of the UDID and will soon be banning the use of UDID.’

To back up a bit: On Tuesday a group associated with Anonymous posted a file online that contained 1 million Apple UDIDs, or ID numbers assigned to 1 million iOS devices. In a long note posted with the download link to the file, the group claimed it stole a file with 12 million Apple UDIDs from the laptop of an FBI agent in March. The group says it chose to post just 1 million of those to start with.

Then, later Tuesday the FBI issued a statement that it hadn’t found any evidence to back up the hackers’ story: “At this time there is no evidence indicating that an F.B.I. laptop was compromised or that the F.B.I. either sought or obtained this data.”

Anonymous said part of the plan of releasing the list of UDIDs was to highlight the danger of letting companies and advertisers (or law enforcement) know the potential identity of whereabouts of a device and its owner.

But if Apple didn’t hand over the UDIDs and the FBI didn’t have them, where did they come from? The hacking group has some more explaining to do — which, doubtless, it will.


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