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As of today, “everyone” includes our elected officials. The Cupertino-based tech giant sent a letter, dated Oct. 8, to four members of Congress explicitly denying a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. The article alleged that the Chinese government had managed to secretly insert tiny chips onto motherboards that eventually found their way into Apple’s possession.
The letter is the latest in a string of categorical denials from the technology company which fundamentally and in no uncertain terms dispute Bloomberg’s well-sourced story. Addressed to four members of Congress — Sen. John Thune, Sen. Ben Nelson, Rep. Greg Walden, and Rep. Frank Pallone — and signed by Apple’s vice president of information security, George Stathakopoulos, the letter’s counterclaims only added to the mounting confusion.
“In light of your important leadership roles in Congress, we want to assure you that a recent report in Bloomberg Businessweek alleging the compromise of our servers is not true,” read the letter published by Apple Insider. “You should know that Bloomberg provided us with no evidence to substantiate their claims and our internal investigations concluded their claims were simply wrong.”
The compromised boards in question were supposedly manufactured by Super Micro Computer Inc., a company that denied Bloomberg’s reporting in the standard press release format.
In writing directly to four members of Congress, Apple took it a step further.
“In the end, our internal investigations directly contradict every consequential assertion made in the article—some of which, we note, were based on a single anonymous source,” continued Apple’s letter. “Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.”
Of course, Apple has issued denials before, seemingly designed to split hairs and skirt the actual substance of allegations based on technicalities. One notable example of which occurred in 2013, when following revelations made by Edward Snowden the company insisted that it did not provide the U.S. government “with direct access to [its] servers.”
And yes, while that was technically true, we all now know that the company was working with the government.
So, who to believe? The reporters who broke the story, or the corporate execs denying it? Unfortunately, we don’t yet know.
However, it’s safe to assume that just like the case of the Snowden revelations, the truth will eventually come out. And if that truth isn’t in Apple’s favor, then keep the letter to Congress in mind every time you read a public statement from the maker of Q1’s best-selling smartphone.