Apple has famously conquered one major world market after another, but the technology giant has encountered stiff resistance in one especially contested piece of territory: The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, has banned all Apple products from its self-declared caliphate, asserting that such devices can be used by American intelligence agents to target its forces with airstrikes.
The militant group issued a directive banning the use of all Apple products in December via a statement issued by its “general supervisory committee” for distribution throughout each province within its caliphate. Written in Arabic, the statement was disseminated via social media and the online media offices that ISIS operates.
The same order also banned the use of all GPS-enabled devices within the caliphate. In the statement, ISIS leaders expressed their concerns that the American-led coalition now conducting airstrikes in Iraq and Syria is pinpointing select targets by monitoring smartphones and tablet computers.
In Raqqa, the Syrian city claimed by ISIS as its headquarters, a spokesman for anti-militant organization Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently confirmed that ISIS leaders have banned the use of iPhones there. Those with iPhones were forced to dispose of them, he added. (His own group uses Android phones, he said.)
“They said the USA can see what you are doing,” spokesman Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi wrote in a text exchange via Skype.
The fact that phones running Android — an operating system developed by Google, one of the most voracious amassers of data in the world — have been deemed beyond the reach of military surveillance and treated as a safe alternative to Apple may strike American readers as ironic. Regardless, ISIS appears to harbor special fears of Apple products amid a broader push to limit its vulnerabilities to monitoring from afar… see more