On Monday evening the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was loosening restrictions on what details tech companies can disclose about government data requests - an area that Tim Cook spoke out against as recently as this afternoon, during Apple's conference call with analysts.
Apple wasted no time: Shortly after the government announced the change, Apple posted a letter to its web site entitled Update on National Security and Law Enforcement Orders.
Apple is reporting the actual number of requests for information related to law enforcement investigations. Law enforcement requests most often relate to criminal investigations such as robbery, theft, murder, and kidnapping. In addition, Apple is re-reporting all the guidelines that allow us to report these orders separate from law enforcement orders, in bands of 250. This data represents every U.S. national security order for data about our customers regardless of geography. We did not receive any orders for bulk data. The number of accounts involved in national security orders is infinitesimal relative to the hundreds of millions of accounts registered with Apple.
In November Apple offered some details about law enforcement information requests, but made it clear that it wanted to be more forthcoming than it could be because of the law. Now that the regulations have changed, Apple's amended that information.
The updated information: