Apple and other tech firms will begin notifying their users of secret personal data requests from law enforcement officials. Prosecutors are unhappy with the move, saying it could tip-off criminals, allowing them to destroy potential evidence.
Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.
The Post notes that some companies who already notify users of government requests have found that investigators drop their data requests to avoid the suspect finding out about the inquiries.
Typical search warrants in the United States require the police to notify the suspect they are being searched. However there are “sneak-and-peek” warrants that are issued that allow investigators to search a suspects house or property without notification. Use of this type of warrant has been expanded under the so-called PATRIOT Act to allow the Federal Government to issue such warrants for almost any type of crime.