In an effort to stay transparent and keep its customers in the loop, Apple today released a “Report on Government Information Requests” that includes figures about how often governments or law enforcement officials requested either account or device information from the company. This is especially important as more and more comes to light on the National Security Administration in the United States, and its reported request of account information from many different companies.
At the beginning of the report, Apple addresses its stance on requests for user data, stating that it thoroughly reports each court request for data before any action is taken to ensure that it does not give out unnecessary data for any request. The company also took some time to explain why some of the figures on the table are not very precise. The numbers for account data requests in the United States on the chart are very broad, and below is the company’s explanation as to why there are not specific numbers for America.
At the time of this report, the U.S. government does not allow Apple to disclose, except in broad ranges, the number of national security orders, the number of accounts affected by the orders, or whether content, such as emails, was disclosed. 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.
When looking at the chart inserted above, it is quite scary for those of us living in the US. Not only are there not specific numbers, but requests are around 10 to 20 times higher than any other country for account information.
As an avid Apple user and America, these figures do scare me a little. While it is unlikely that any of my information has been given, and unlikely that it ever will, it is still surprising to me to see how high the number of requests have been for America. What are your thoughts? Does this scare you at all? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet me at @TiP_Griffin.