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Security Government Privacy Apple

Apple Reports 400 Percent Rise In National Security Requests (thenextweb.com) 44

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Apple received a record number of national security orders this year, according to its bi-annual report published this week. The company stated it received more than 13,250 national security requests affecting over 9,000 accounts in the first half of 2017. Compared to the same period in 2015, this represents a threefold increase. National Security Requests are subpoenas by the government which oblige companies or individuals to share their data for national security purposes. The requests are usually made in the form of National Security Letters and are demanded only when it's indispensable to an investigation. The reason for this rise in numbers is still unclear. The company also revealed it provided data in 44 non-civil governmental cases, information which hadn't been revealed in its previous reports.
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Apple Reports 400 Percent Rise In National Security Requests

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  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @06:25PM (#55280699) Homepage
    George W. Bush and Obama were people who at least cared a tiny, tiny amount about civil liberties even as they established precedents which were easily abused. And now, we're seeing what happens when one has people in charge (Trump and Sessions) who don't even bother pretending that they care about civil liberties.
    • They didn't care about civil liberties. They cared about looking like they cared about civil liberties while wiping their ass with the Bill of Rights. Now of course Darth Cheeto and Herr Ernie are wiping their ass with the Bill of Rights and setting it on fire afterwards, but neither act is praiseworthy.
  • Compared to the same period in 2015, this represents a threefold increase.

    Sounds like somebody's enjoying being in charge of the Deep State. Who could have guessed?

    • Quite a lot of the increase this year came from the investigations into people connected with Trump.

    • Compared to the same period in 2015, this represents a threefold increase.

      Sounds like somebody's enjoying being in charge of the Deep State. Who could have guessed?

      Sounds more like somebody linked to an article that references this article [siliconbeat.com], but screwed up the numbers.

      In its biannual transparency report, released on Thursday, Apple said it received between 13,250 and 13,499 national security orders, affecting between 9,000 and 9,249 accounts. In the first months of 2016, the company received less than a quarter of that: 2,750 to 2,999 orders affecting between 2,000 to 2,249 accounts.

      Note that TFA from the submission managed to get the fucking timeframe wrong in addition to adding that "threefold" bullshit. All while hoping you don't actually check the original Apple report or the article they link to at the end they so expertly fucked up.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    [...] National Security Letters [...] are demanded only when it's indispensable to an investigation.

    This is demonstratively untrue, as has become clear even through the usually attached gag orders on the NSLs: An NSL is simply more convenient to issue, carries a lower burden of proof on the requester, and neatly shuts up the requestee. Oh, and NSLs aren't "requests" as there's basically no way to decline. But hey, at least they're overseen by a court, right? By a secret court, in secret, following secret rules. Such "requests".

    These things are highly corrosive to due process and that thing so elusive you

  • by NaCh0 ( 6124 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @06:38PM (#55280763)

    Why are they comparing 2017 to 2015? Did anyone else notice they skipped 2016?

    I guess someone read the how to lie with statistics book.

    • Why are they comparing 2017 to 2015? Did anyone else notice they skipped 2016?

      I guess someone read the how to lie with statistics book.

      Why should we believe what Apple is reporting . . . ? Maybe the true number is 4,000 % . . . would Apple tell us the truth, if the government did not want us to know . . . ?

      • Why should we believe what Apple is reporting . . . ? Maybe the true number is 4,000 % . . . would Apple tell us the truth, if the government did not want us to know . . . ?

        Why wouldn't they? The government specifically set the rules so that companies like Apple are only allowed to report a range of 250. The assumption was obviously that Apple for example would report "1 to 250 requests" and the public would be left to guess. Now they are allowed to report "13,001 to 13,250", so that's what they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Which is it?

  • Iphones are ubiquitous products and I'm not surprised to find a large focus on mining the resulting information.
  • Yeah ... It is a real mystery why there is a sudden spike in fascism in the US. Make Americans Grip Ankles! #MAGA
  • Apple gadgets don't throw off user data to Apple ecosystem beyond the meta, storefronts, and iCloud. I wonder if the increase in NSL's going Apple's way is for iCloud stuff, and the increase reflects Apple's organically increasing cloud-user base instead of newfound zealotry on part of DoJ. Other companies - especially Google's - numbers on this front will be that much more interesting.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The NSL is more a chilling cover for parallel construction.
      Most people are expected to have no working bank accounts (frozen assets), no access to more lawyers and no access to expert witnesses.
      The NSL helps when a rare person can still fund a working defence. Their real experts can afford archaic legal terms like discovery.
      A NSL just ensures nobody ever has to help in any way with later questions.
      Methods stay secret and lawyers can keep asking all they want.
  • by ve3oat ( 884827 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @07:13PM (#55280949)
    Excuse me, but a "threefold increase" as quoted in the summary does not equal a "400 percent rise" as mentioned in the headline.

    Who writes these headlines and where did they learn to do arithmetic?? For the record, a threefold increase equals a 200% rise. Maybe this evident innumeracy is somehow connected with the apparent rise in fascism mentioned by another reader.
    • by ve3oat ( 884827 )
      The bad arithmetic first appears in the article at thenextweb.com and has been repeated, unquestioningly, by slashdot. Tsk, tsk.

      My name isn't Trump but I would call this fake news.
      • An editorial oversight does not make something fake news. What next, typos?
        • by ve3oat ( 884827 )
          No, but if another news service or an op-ed writer quotes just the headline with its embedded untruth and without investigating further, the original "editorial oversight" begins to take on a life of its own. Voila — fake news! Isn't that how it has so often happened?
    • For the record, a threefold increase equals a 200% rise.

      English is stupid anyway. If I fold something three times, then I've folded it into eight parts. Unless I tri-fold it, in which case it's in three parts, as you say. But wait, we're talking about sheep folds, which neither fold, nor are they a place where you fold sheep. What a goddamned train wreck.

  • A look at the original reports [apple.com] reveals that actually both the "threefold" and the "by 400%" claims are completely wrong.

    The number ranges (apparently there are regulations banning Apple from giving specific numbers) for the requests are: 750-999 for 1H2015, 2750-2999 for 1H2016, 13250-13499 for 1H2017. Taking the mean to represent each band, we can see that from 2015 to 2017 the number of requests actually increased 15.3 times (or by 1430 percent if you like that notation). The increase from 2015 to 2016 wa

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