Apple's transparency report shows steep drop in government data requests

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iPhone 12 Mini Maps Hero (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has released its latest transparency report.
  • The report details data requests from governments and private parties.

Apple is out with its latest transparency report and it has revealed a steep drop in data requests from governments.

As reported by CNET, the report revealed that governments had requested data from 83,307 devices in the back half of 2020, about half as much as the year before.

The tech giant said government requests had targeted 83,307 devices, just under half as many as the same time a year earlier. Apple is often kept from sharing details about government data requests, but it did say it provided data 77% of the time, slightly lower than the 80% the same time a year earlier.

According to Apple, Germany requested data for the most devices with the United States and China in second and third place.

Germany again made the most requests for device data, according to Apple's report, asking for information from 16,819 devices, down from 19,633 in 2019. The US was the second largest, asking for data on 11,581 devices, fewer than the 80,235 it requested data about in 2019, or the 97,739 it requested data about during the first half of 2020. China rounded out the top three, asking for data on 11,372 devices, down about half from the number of devices requested a year prior.

According to the report, Apple shared some sort of data for 77% of the requests, down from 80% a year ago.

Apple said national security-related requests made by the US under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, targeted as many as 24,499 accounts, which could include stores photos, emails, contacts, calendars or device backups. Apple said it received as many as 499 National Security Letters from the FBI for subscriber information, targeting as many as 999 accounts. Apple said it does not produce transaction information or connection logs in those instances.

You can read the entire report on Apple's website.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.