Apple has disclosed some some information on the requests that it gets from the government for customer information. The company says that only a small percentage of government requests concern actual customer data, with the majority of law enforcement requests seeking information of devices that have been lost or stolen. Apple also talked about what they do when they receive an information request from law enforcement in their report:
Like many companies, Apple receives requests from law enforcement agencies to provide customer information. As we have explained, any government agency demanding customer content from Apple must get a court order. When we receive such a demand, our legal team carefully reviews the order. If there is any question about the legitimacy or scope of the court order, we challenge it. Only when we are satisfied that the court order is valid and appropriate do we deliver the narrowest possible set of information responsive to the request.
Apple reports requests for device information and those for customer account information separately, as device requests and account requests, respectively. The report breaks down the requests into either device or account by country, then breaks them down even further from there. For example, in the United States, Apple has had 3,542 device information requests, with the total number of devices in the requests being 8,605. In 88% of these cases, some data was provided.
It's a positive step towards transparency on this issue, which is of great concern to many people around the world. Apple stresses in their report that they continue to make requests to the government calling for more openness, and that this report is all of the information they can legally release at this time:
We strongly oppose this gag order, and Apple has made the case for relief from these restrictions in meetings and discussions with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the courts. Despite our extensive efforts in this area, we do not yet have an agreement that we feel adequately addresses our customers’ right to know how often and under what circumstances we provide data to law enforcement agencies.
Is this enough information about the data Apple is giving to governments, or were you hoping for something more in-depth? Let us know in the comments.