Apple Reveals Number of Customer Data Requests From U.S. Law Agencies, Repeats Denial Of PRISM Involvement

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Apple, GT
Tags: , ,

Apple posted a press release on its site reaffirming its
“commitment to customer privacy” and stating that it
first heard of the PRISM program when questioned by
news organizations on June 6. The company also
said that it received between 4,000 to 5,000 requests
from U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement for customer data between December 1, 2012 and May
31, 2013. “Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team
conducts an evaluation of each request and, only if
appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest
possible set of information to the authorities. In fact,
from time to time when we see inconsistencies or
inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it,” Apple stated in its press release. Between 9,000 to
10,000 accounts or devices were specified in the
requests and “included both criminal investigations
and national security matters.” The press release also states that Apple does not
collect maintain personal details about customers:
“there are certain categories of information which we
do not provide to law enforcement or any other group
because we choose not to retain it.” For example, the
company says that iMessage and FaceTime conversations are protected by end-to-end encryption
so no one but the sender and receiver can read them,
and Apple cannot decrypt the data. Apple’s statement comes after other tech companies
implicated in the NSA scandal also disclosed the
number of government requests for information they
had received in an effort to support their claims that
they denied NSA special access to their servers and
win back the trust of users. Facebook said on June 15 that for the six months
ending December 31, 2012, it had received between
9,000 to 10,000 requests for data from U.S. law
enforcement agencies. During that same period
Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000
requests. Meanwhile, Google has asked the U.S. government to be allowed to publish more information
about national security requests it has received.


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