Apple has published a Report on Government Information Requests [PDF], outlining government and law enforcement requests it has received seeking information about users or devices, covering the timeframe of January to the end of June this year.
We believe that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available. Apple has prepared this report on the requests we receive from governments seeking information about individual users or devices in the interest of transparency for our customers around the world.
Apple’s report details the number of law enforcement requests it has received, the number of accounts specified within those requests, the number of accounts they supplied data for, and the number of requests Apple objected to.
Apple says they received 3,542 device information requests, for 8,605 devices, and provided data for 88% or 3,110 of those requests. The company reports that it also received between 1,000 and 2,000 requests for account information for 2,000 to 3,000 accounts, but is unable to disclose the information that it provided. The company also provided information for law enforcement agencies in a number of other countries.
Apple reports the it has shared all the information it is allowed to legally share, which doesn’t include the number of national security orders, the number of accounts affected by orders, or the content disclosed.
Apple also noted in the report its continuing effort to seek greater transparency in government, and its attempt to provide better privacy disclosures to its customers.
Today’s report comes in the wake of the summer reveal of a top secret data gathering program known as ‘PRISM’. A number of technology firms, Apple among them, were accused of giving the government direct access to user data.
Apple responded by publishing a statement of “Commitment to Customer Privacy” in which it denied its participation in PRISM, and then teamed with a number of other tech companies to form an alliance requesting greater NSA surveillance transparency.