Islamic State No Longer Uses Apple Products But FBI Still Concerned About Encryption Technology

When it comes to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) and their relationship with technology, it is reportedly hit or miss. One major example of a miss was reported earlier by the Inquisitr when an Islamic State insurgent posted a selfie online. The United States military was able to analyze the selfie to pinpoint the location of the base it was taken and bomb it into oblivion.

However, technology has been mostly favorable for the Islamic State. The terrorist organization is able to utilize the encryption software of mobile devices for strategy and communications without any fear of detection. Apple is the one company that has been adamant in their defense of encryption technology. Despite this, the Islamic State is no longer using Apple devices as mentioned in latest reports.

According to Agence France-Presse, Michael Steinbach, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, claims that Apple, Facebook, and other tech and social media companies are helping the Islamic State. Steinbach discussed the matter with the House Homeland Security committee on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. How the Islamic State is using Apple and Facebook is through encryption technology, which has “afforded a free zone by which to recruit, radicalize, plot, and plan.”

Because of the aforementioned circumstance with encryption, the U.S. Federal Department has called for laws requiring tech companies to insert surveillance backdoors to their devices.

“We are going dark in certain instances. We suggest and we are imploring Congress to help us seek legal remedies towards that. [We are] not talking about large-scale surveillance techniques.”

This move seems to have annoyed Apple CEO Tim Cook. He included an encryption passcode on iOS 8 as a defense to the prioritization of encryption, according to International Business Times. This forces the FBI to obtain a court’s permission before they monitor suspect’s communications.

However, singling out Apple products might be irrelevant because the Islamic State has largely abandoned Apple products in general. Sources in Raqqa have confirmed this in February, in which Islamic State higher-ups have banned the use of iPhones there. The reason for such a ban is due to the GPS features installed on the phone. The Islamic State fears such features may be used to their disadvantage and have reportedly downgraded to the use of “dumb” phones for their operations.

[Image via Matt Cardy/Stringer/Getty]