Apple declined to provide Chinese officials with access to iOS source code, General counsel Bruce Sewell said on Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing on encryption. “We have been asked by the Chinese government. We refused.”
Sewell said the request had come in the last two years, and noted several times that Apple has not cooperated with China on that level. Some lawmakers have questioned whether or not Apple has given the country special treatment.
Sewell said the Chinese request had come in the last two years as he repeatedly sought to make the point that Apple had not given access to the iOS software code that runs the iPhone. Seeing the underlying code could allow government experts or hackers to develop new ways to crack through the device’s security protections and access users information.
“We have not provided source code to the Chinese government…I just want to be very clear on that,” Sewell emphasized.
This is the second time that Apple officials have been called before congress to defend its iPhone security since the company refused to help the FBI break into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardinho shooters last month.
While that battle may be over—remember the FBI found a way into the iPhone without Apple’s help—the war is still going on. Apple is currently fighting a court order in New York to provide similar aid in a criminal drug investigation.