Apple talks a big game about its commitment to customer privacy, but the words mean something. This week, the company told a federal judge that it’s actually impossible to unlock a password-protected iPhone running iOS 8 or later.

The Justice Department has asked U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein to compel Apple to allow the government a back door into iPhones for law enforcement purposes. Apple’s response:

“In most cases now and in the future, the government’s requested order would be substantially burdensome, as it would be impossible to perform. For devices running iOS 8 or higher, Apple would not have the technical ability to do what the government requests—take possession of a password protected device from the government and extract unencrypted user data from that device for the government. Among the security features in iOS 8 is a feature that prevents anyone without the device’s passcode from accessing the device’s encrypted data. This includes Apple.”

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