Government to Allow Apple to Disclose More Data on Surveillance Requests

nsalogo.pngThe United States Department of Justice today reached a tentative deal with Apple and other technology companies on data requests to allow the companies to provide more detailed disclosures on information requests from the NSA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As indicated in the Justice Department’s filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.

The relaxed restrictions on data disclosures come following a concerted effort by Apple and other technology companies to achieve greater NSA transparency. In July, Apple teamed up with multiple firms to request that the government allow them to offer regular reports on security related requests. Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with President Obama and several other tech executives to discuss NSA surveillance methods in December.

The new disclosure terms will allow companies to give out general figures on how often they receive demands for data from National Security Letters or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, according to The Wall Street Journal. Companies are allowed to report each individual category in ranges of 1,000, so if a company receives 2,400 requests, they are able to report that they received between 2,000 and 3,000 requests.

Alternatively, companies are able to report in more specific number ranges in increments of 250 but must lump National Security Letters and FISA requests together.

Companies are also allowed to report in general numbers how many customer accounts have been affected by the requests. While National Security Letter requests from the FBI can be reported in real time, there is a six-month delay in reporting the number of FISA court requests.

Following today’s agreement, Apple posted an update [PDF] on its website with new information on Account Information Requests the company has received. Between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013 Apple received a total of 927 account requests in the United States and disclosed data for 747 accounts, Apple objected to 102 requests and disclosed no data in 254 requests, for a total disclosure rate of 81 percent.

Apple also received between 0 and 249 National Security Orders.

Apple has been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive. We believe strongly that our customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled, and we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the U.S.

In June of last year, NSA program PRISM was revealed to be giving U.S. National Security Agency direct access to user data on corporate servers across a wide spectrum of Internet companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and more.

Following the reveal, Apple quickly published a statement of "Commitment to Customer Privacy" denying its participation in the NSA program. Last week, Cook told David Muir in an ABC interview that the government does not have direct access to Apple’s servers and that "they would have to cart us out in a box" for that to happen.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

bryanescuela Avatar
93 months ago
I don't believe anything the government says...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iJohnHenry Avatar
93 months ago
MEMO TO: Tim Cook

MEMO FROM: NSA

MESSAGE: This is our spin in the matter. You are instructed to keep your mouth shut.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
93 months ago
Knowing what data is being mined doesn't solve the problem of it being mined in the first place...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
93 months ago
Good thing the US Gov hasn't ever given us reason after reason, decade after decade, to distrust them and suspect them of lying for their own self-serving purposes of control and authoritarianism.

I'll consider USA being honest and sincere when it's done declining and falling. Til then, they've burned that bridge so many times there aren't even ashes left.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacNut Avatar
93 months ago
Fortunately, the document is published by Apple, not the government.
And probably vetted by the government.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iJohnHenry Avatar
93 months ago
I really don't like how that eagle is holding a large key. :(

That's just a euphemism for what the people in charge like to toke.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
Screen Shot 2021 03 08 at 1

Leaker Suggests Apple Event to Be Held on March 23

Monday March 8, 2021 2:25 am PST by
Apple will hold its first event of the year on March 23, according to information provided by a reputable Chinese leaker (via DuanRui). Apple is expected to launch AirTags, new iPads, and possibly updated AirPods at a spring event, and leaker "Kang" believes that date will be March 23. Initial speculation pointed to an event happening on March 16; however, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman shot down...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
iOS 14

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 With Security Fixes

Monday March 8, 2021 10:01 am PST by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1, minor security updates that comes more than a month after the release of the iOS 14.4 update. The iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...
apple mixed reality headset mockup feature

Kuo: Apple to Launch Mixed Reality Headset in Mid 2022 and Augmented Reality Glasses by 2025

Sunday March 7, 2021 8:27 am PST by
Apple plans to release its long-rumored mixed reality headset "in mid-2022," followed by augmented reality glasses by 2025, well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors. "We predict that Apple's MR/AR product roadmap includes three phases: helmet type by 2022, glasses type by 2025, and contact lens type by...
smart contact lens

Kuo: Apple May Release Augmented Reality Contact Lenses in 2030s

Sunday March 7, 2021 9:34 am PST by
In a research note shared with MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today predicted that Apple will release augmented reality "contact lenses" in the 2030s. Kuo said the lenses will bring electronics from the era of "visible computing" to "invisible computing." Mojo Vision smart contact lens Kuo said the lenses are "unlikely to have independent computing power and storage," suggesting that they...