Touting its commitment to user privacy in the wake of the NSA surveillance scandal earlier this year, Apple said that the end-to-end encryption protecting its iMessage instant-messenger service is so secure that even the company itself cannot decrypt it. But, on Thursday, security outfit QuarksLab disputed that claim, arguing that Apple could intercept iMessage communications if it wanted to. “Apple can read your iMessages if they choose to, or if they are required to do so by a government order,” QuarksLab said in a white paper presented Thursday at the Hack in the Box conference. Apple disagrees — vehemently. We’ll get to that in a minute. QuarksLab research is far too labyrinthine to summarize here, but the gist of it is this: Because Apple controls the keys used to encrypt iMessages between the sender and the recipient, it could theoretically conduct a so-called “man-in-the-middle attack” on the two.