‘US government organization built modified iPod with help from Apple in 2005’

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A US government agency, the Department of Energy, built a modified iPod with help from Apple in 2005. That reveals a former Apple employee. It is unknown what the iPod did.

iPods of the type used

Because the Department of Energy is about nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, the former employee suspects that it is a radiation meter. Comments to the blog post point out that the iPod case would absorb a lot of the radiation, so that application is not obvious. Some people who respond suspect that it is a device that can map WiFi networks, for example.

Two employees of a private company employed by the department made the modified iPod. Apple helped by providing access to code from the iPod’s operating system on a DVD that was not allowed out of the building. Then the Apple employee and the two employees of the company employed by the government agency together built a setting deep in the menu to toggle the feature on and off.

The recorded data ended up on a hidden partition of the hard drive and even when connected to a PC or Mac it was not possible to see that it was not a normal iPod. According to the former Apple employee, only four people within Apple knew about the project. Later that was no longer possible: the used iPod of the fifth generation with 60GB hard disk was the last without checking whether the operating system had been adjusted. The full story is in a blog post on TidBITS.

AppleApplicationBlogBlog PostDriveDVDEnergyGovernmentiPodMacMapNetworksOperating systemPrivateRadiationWeaponsWiFi