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Government Privacy United States Apple

Apple Issues First Transparency Report 93

Trailrunner7 writes "In a new report (PDF) detailing the number and kind of requests for user information it's gotten from various governments, Apple said it has never received a request for information under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and would likely fight one if it ever came. The company also disclosed that it has received between 1,000 and 2,000 requests for user data from the United States government since January, but it's not clear how many of those requests it complied with because of the restrictions the U.S. government places on how companies can report this data. Right now, companies such as Apple, Google and others that issue so-called transparency reports are only allowed to report the volume of requests they get in increments of 1,000. So Apple's report shows that although it received 1,000-2,000 requests for user data so far in 2013, the number that it complied with is listed as 0-1,000. Apple, along with a number of other companies, including Google and Microsoft, have asked the government in recent months for permission to disclose more specific numbers of requests, including specific numbers of National Security Letters."
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Apple Issues First Transparency Report

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  • It depends how you count. One NSL/~court document/letter could cover an entire group, brand, faith or generation of people.

    Not a legally valid NSL, per my understanding (which comes from Google's legal counsel -- I'm not sure how much detail I can provide, so I won't give any). And the ranges provided by most of the companies -- including Google -- cover not just number of requests but number of accounts impacts. For example, the most recent report from Google says that in 2012 Google received 0-999 requests which affected 1000-1999 user accounts.

    That's NSL's only. For other requests (subpoenas, warrants, etc.), in 2012 Google received 16,407 requests affecting 31,072 accounts, and produced at least some data in response to 89% of them.

    This is US only, but the data for other countries is like the non-NSL data from the US; very precise, and with specification of numbers of accounts affected. So your theory about this approach to masking broad access doesn't hold water, unless you assume that the numbers are either fabrications or not complete.

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire