Apple denies handing device identifiers to FBI

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As hackers release large cache of data.

Apple US says it didn't hand over the 12 million unique device identifiers or UDIDs that the Antisec hackers claim to have lifted off an FBI agent's laptop.

Hackers claimed to have compomised the laptop of agent Christopher Stangl, who had a history of involvement with Anonymous and Lulzsec, the predecessor to Antisec.

Antisec posted more than a million UDIDs to the web, with some matching personal user information such as names, mobile phone numbers and physical addresses attached, leading to privacy concerns and suggestions that the FBI was tracking a large number of Apple customers.

The FBI has denied that the laptop was compromised, or that it requested and obtained the UDIDs.

And Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told All Things Digital: "The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the the FBI or any organisation."

Apple planned to phase out UDIDs on devices running the yet to be released iOS 6 operating system. Kerris said Apple had introduced a new set of Application Programming Interfaces in iOS 6 that would replace the UDID.

Using UDIDs would soon be banned altogether, she said, without explaining how this would occur on devices running older versions of iOS.

Since March this year, iOS apps that used devices' UDIDs have been rejected by Apple due to privacy concerns.

At the time, two members of the US House of Representatives also launched an inquiry into apps that stored customer information by writing to 34 developers to find out how they used the data and how they informed users of its gathering.

Last year, a class action privacy law suit by iPhone users against Apple was dismissed in the United States. The plaintiffs alleged apps on iOS devices could use among other things UDIDs to track users, but as they could not prove any harm had been done to them, the judge threw out the case.

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