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Apple Releases its First Transparency Report

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

On Tuesday Apple provided its first transparency report (pdf) regarding the number of information requests it receives from governments around the world. As with reports from rivals like Google and Microsoft, Apple is under a "gag order" regarding the actual number of local national security orders, thus it can only provide a range of numbers. Apple openly opposes this gag order in the report.

"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," the  report states. "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."

"We believe that dialogue and advocacy are the most productive way to bring about a change in these policies, rather than filing a lawsuit against the U.S. government," the report adds. "Concurrent with the release of this report, we have filed an Amicus brief at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) in support of a group of cases requesting greater transparency. Later this year, we will file a second Amicus brief at the Ninth Circuit in support of a case seeking greater transparency with respect to National Security Letters."

According to a chart, in the period between January 1 and June 30, the total number of local law enforcement account requests that were received ranged between 1000 and 2000, and the number of accounts specified in the requests ranged from 2000 to 3000. The number of accounts for which data was disclosed were 1000 and less, as was the number of accounts where Apple objected, the number of account requests where non-content data was disclosed, and more.

Outside the United States, the numbers were smaller. For the total number of law enforcement account requests received, the United Kingdom came in second with 127, Spain in third with 102, Germany with 93, Australia with 74, and France with 71. The number of account requests where some content was disclosed was zero across the board save for the United Kingdom with a big one account, and the United States with an even bigger up to 1000.

"Even though device requests have not been the focus of public debate, we are disclosing them to make our report as comprehensive as possible," reads the report. "These may include requests for the customer contact information provided to register a device with Apple or the date the device first used Apple services. We count devices based on the individual serial numbers related to an investigation."

A device chart shows that the United States makes the largest total number of law enforcement device requests with 3542, followed by Germany with 2156 requests, Singapore with 1498 requests, Australia with 1178 requests, and the United Kingdom with 1028 requests. For the United States, the number of devices specified in the requests was 8605, the number of device requests where some data was provided was 3110, and the percentage of device requests where some data was provided was 88 percent.

"We believe it is important to differentiate these categories and report them individually," reads the report. "Device requests and account requests involve very different types of data. Many of the device requests we receive are initiated by our own customers working together with law enforcement. Device requests never include national security–related requests."

To read the full disclosure, read the PDF file here.

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  • -1 Hide
    BulkZerker , November 7, 2013 9:36 AM
    And apple trolls the country that demands a report by asking why it has to censor that country's order numbers.
  • -2 Hide
    dalethepcman , November 7, 2013 11:41 AM
    If anyone thinks cellular data, texts, location, phone calls or anything they have ever done online wasn't tracked filed and stuck in a database, then your living in the past.

    Really the problem in this tech is with the companies that sell it. The Government themselves don't have this data, they rely on laws put in place to allow them access to this data. If the corporations intentionally built a product or service that could not use logging of certain types of data then this wouldn't even be an issue as the data the government seeks wouldn't be available.

    Instead of creating a device that is secure, the companies would rather line their pockets by intentionally building these devices and services with information gathering and logging in mind so they can sell wiretapping services to uncle sam about you on your dime.

    There are many articles about these companies taking billions of tax dollars selling data about their users to the government.

    I don't blame the government for wanting the data, it is valuable. I blame the corporations for gathering and storing it in the first place.
  • 1 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , November 7, 2013 7:29 PM
    Quote:
    If anyone thinks cellular data, texts, location, phone calls or anything they have ever done online wasn't tracked filed and stuck in a database, then your living in the past.

    Really the problem in this tech is with the companies that sell it. The Government themselves don't have this data, they rely on laws put in place to allow them access to this data. If the corporations intentionally built a product or service that could not use logging of certain types of data then this wouldn't even be an issue as the data the government seeks wouldn't be available.

    Instead of creating a device that is secure, the companies would rather line their pockets by intentionally building these devices and services with information gathering and logging in mind so they can sell wiretapping services to uncle sam about you on your dime.

    There are many articles about these companies taking billions of tax dollars selling data about their users to the government.

    I don't blame the government for wanting the data, it is valuable. I blame the corporations for gathering and storing it in the first place.


    You don't blame the government for wanting to spy on its citizens?

    You and the rest of the idiots condoning this behavior are more to blame than any corporation.

    As far as the governments not having the data, you must enjoy hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because I can't think of another reason for such stupidity. Why don't you read up on the NSA's Utah data center.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

    We're talking exabytes of data on you, me, your congressman's favorite porn sub-genres, ect.

    One exabyte is enough to store 3.2 GB of data for every U.S. citizen, and the storage capacity of just this data center is estimated to be between 3 and 12 exabytes! 7 exabytes is enough to store 1.0 GB of data for every single person on this planet!
  • 3 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , November 7, 2013 7:58 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    If anyone thinks cellular data, texts, location, phone calls or anything they have ever done online wasn't tracked filed and stuck in a database, then your living in the past.

    Really the problem in this tech is with the companies that sell it. The Government themselves don't have this data, they rely on laws put in place to allow them access to this data. If the corporations intentionally built a product or service that could not use logging of certain types of data then this wouldn't even be an issue as the data the government seeks wouldn't be available.

    Instead of creating a device that is secure, the companies would rather line their pockets by intentionally building these devices and services with information gathering and logging in mind so they can sell wiretapping services to uncle sam about you on your dime.

    There are many articles about these companies taking billions of tax dollars selling data about their users to the government.

    I don't blame the government for wanting the data, it is valuable. I blame the corporations for gathering and storing it in the first place.


    You don't blame the government for wanting to spy on its citizens?

    You and the rest of the idiots condoning this behavior are more to blame than any corporation.

    As far as the governments not having the data, you must enjoy hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because I can't think of another reason for such stupidity. Why don't you read up on the NSA's Utah data center.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

    We're talking exabytes of data on you, me, your congressman's favorite porn sub-genres, ect.

    One exabyte is enough to store 3.2 GB of data for every U.S. citizen, and the storage capacity of just this data center is estimated to be between 3 and 12 exabytes! 7 exabytes is enough to store 1.0 GB of data for every single person on this planet!


    If you send any data electronically you should have zero expectation of privacy unless you take the proper precautions. To expect otherwise is delusional.


    I didn't say I have any expectation of privacy numbnuts. I'm saying we should have privacy.
  • 0 Hide
    kinggremlin , November 7, 2013 10:40 PM
    Quote:
    If anyone thinks cellular data, texts, location, phone calls or anything they have ever done online wasn't tracked filed and stuck in a database, then your living in the past.


    No duh. This database you refer to is called your phone bill. You should be able to look up every call and text you have made/received for months going back online from your account. How do you think your cellular provider knows what to bill you without storing basically all of this data?
  • -2 Hide
    Geef , November 7, 2013 10:41 PM
    There is only one place I would have an expectation of total privacy and thats while dropping a load in the bathroom. Even if someone is monitoring the sounds I don't think they want to hear a huge fart followed by on and off grunting over time. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    happyballz , November 8, 2013 7:22 AM
    That is the most anti-transparent "transparent" report I have seen. Screw the NSA and their Nazi ways.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , November 8, 2013 7:24 AM
    It's has nothing to do with privacy or expectations of any kind.

    It is about having a fourth branch of government that is unbridled, unrestricted and is subject to no real oversight. That means we have no idea to whom they answer or follow with any surety.

    With the data they have it can be used in many ways it can be mined for any number of attributes. So what if whomever is in control has an agenda that uses some specific criteria to determine undesirables or 'enemies' or people that need to be watched or further investigated. Think of the control or pressure or the fact that they might also capable of injecting data.

    Already they can 'gag' you if you are under investigation. Already your local police are being federalized by Homeland Security, DEA, ICE, ATF.

    Your rights are being taken away and you stand by and watch as if you are watching one the dozens of Police TV shows that have desensitized you to the point that you find it all just so entertaining.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , November 11, 2013 10:38 AM
    Quote:
    You don't blame the government for wanting to spy on its citizens?

    You and the rest of the idiots condoning this behavior are more to blame than any corporation.

    As far as the governments not having the data, you must enjoy hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because I can't think of another reason for such stupidity. ......!


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

    AT&T didn't have to go along with this, neither did the other ISP's. They have attorneys.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

    Verizon could have just as easily implemented internal policies to prevent this type of court ruling from being able to gather data about its users.

    You complain about your rights being taken away, but you are the one standing by the sidelines doing nothing about it. I work for a rather large company and we have intentionally setup logging of user data to only be stored long enough to create billing data, to not be included in system backups, and to be non survivable if the systems were to lose power.

    This is a business risk that we take, yes we may lose a day of billing to our customers, but we cater to them and their privacy, not the government.

    The government by itself wouldn't have the capability to monitor its own citizens without the acceptance of these mega corporations. I don't blame them for wanting the data, I blame the companies that have the data for not destroying it when it was legally safe for them to do so.

    After the court orders have already been placed, it is too late them to change data retention policies, but they knew this from the beginning and chose to not protect users data.

    Without operations like the two above, and im sure countless others by now the utah data center you refer to wouldn't have anything to store. It would be a giant empty database.

    Quote:
    It's has nothing to do with privacy or expectations of any kind.

    It is about having a fourth branch of government that is unbridled, unrestricted and is subject to no real oversight. That means we have no idea to whom they answer or follow with any surety.

    With the data they have it can be used in many ways it can be mined for any number of attributes. So what if whomever is in control has an agenda that uses some specific criteria to determine undesirables or 'enemies' or people that need to be watched or further investigated. Think of the control or pressure or the fact that they might also capable of injecting data.

    Already they can 'gag' you if you are under investigation. Already your local police are being federalized by Homeland Security, DEA, ICE, ATF.

    Your rights are being taken away and you stand by and watch as if you are watching one the dozens of Police TV shows that have desensitized you to the point that you find it all just so entertaining.


    If this is truly what you believe, then you know who they follow and answer to. Some will call it a conspiracy, some will call it truth, I call it the curse that is life on this earth. If you are religious at all, then reading the first verses of the good book will explain why this world is cursed as well as how to become saved from that curse.