According to the transparency report that Apple has released just this week, the iPhone maker was asked by United States law enforcement agencies for information in at least 4,000 occasions, covering more than 16,100 mobile devices, during the last six months of 2015. The company in turn complied with 80 percent of all these requests.
Apple got national security orders numbering between 1,250 to 1,499 at the end of last year. These national security orders went on to have an impact on user accounts numbering between 1,000 to 1,249. These national security orders includes those from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and National Security Letters.
It is interesting to note that the number of requests that Apple got from law enforcement agencies from July to December of last year slightly increased compared to that of the first six months of 2015. However, the volume of requests in the second part of 2015 decreased compared to that of the same period in 2014.
In light of the recent feud between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a lot of people may be thinking that the iPhone maker has always been unfriendly with the feds. But as indicated in the company’s transparency report, Apple has actually provided assistance to the FBI on a frequent basis. Although for the San Bernardino investigation, the tech giant just chose to draw the line.
Beyond handsets, Apple claims that it has received 1,015 requests from US law enforcement agencies, asking data pertaining to 5,192 accounts during the second half of last year. Some may be wondering what these requests are really all about. Well, they normally involve access to data about users’ iTunes or iCloud accounts, e.g. usernames, email addresses, etc. In some occasions, Apple received requests to provide iCloud content such as email messages, saved images, handset backups, and even contacts list information. According to the iPhone maker, it has provided information for 82 percent of those requests.
In the San Bernardino case, lawyers representing the US Justice Department have attacked Apple for providing assistance to the Chinese government, particularly in acquiring access to customer phone information, but not doing the same for its own government (US). Per Apple’s transparency report, the company has received 1,005 requests from China for 2,413 devices, and provided information in 66 percent of those requests. Moreover, Apple stated it got 32 requests pertaining to 6,734 accounts, and provided data in 53 percent of those requests.
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