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
132 months ago
I don't believe anything the government says...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iJohnHenry Avatar
132 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
132 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
132 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
132 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
132 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)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...
Apple Sports App Preview Feature

'Apple Sports' App Announced With Personalized Scoreboards and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:16 am PST by
Apple today announced "Apple Sports," a new free app that provides real-time statistics, scores, and more. Apple Sports features a personalized experience with a user's favorite leagues, tournaments, teams shown on an easy-to-read scoreboard. Users can navigate between scores and upcoming games, explore play-by-play information, team statistics, lineup details, and live betting odds, with...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...