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
111 months ago
I don't believe anything the government says...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iJohnHenry Avatar
111 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
111 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
111 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
111 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
111 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

cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
Apple Watch Series 7 Starlight Midnight

Standard Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature Same Design as Series 7

Friday August 5, 2022 7:46 am PDT by
The standard 41mm and 45mm models of the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature the same design as the Apple Watch Series 7, according to Twitter user @ShrimpApplePro, who was first to reveal that iPhone 14 Pro models would feature a new pill-and-hole display. Titanium will not be an option for the standard Apple Watch Series 8 models either, according to @ShrimpApplePro, but Bloomberg's Mark...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone X and the iPhone XS. Battery percent...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
ipad pro magic keyboard white

Rumor Claims Next iPad Pro to Feature New Four-Pin Smart Connector

Sunday August 7, 2022 11:57 am PDT by
A new rumor claims that the next-generation 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro will feature a new four-pin Smart Connector, an update from the current three-pin connector in the iPad Pro. The rumor from Mac Otakara, citing "reliable sources," says that the next iPad Pro, expected to debut possibly as soon as this fall, will feature a new Smart Connector that has four-pins rather than three. The...