Apple Will Begin Notifying Users of Information Requests from Law Enforcement

applelogo.pngApple will begin notifying its users of secret personal data requests from law enforcement, according to The Washington Post, as the company believes users have a right to know in advance if their information is being targeted by the government.

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.

Prosecutors, however, say the move could tip off criminals, allowing them to destroy potential digital evidence, cover their tracks and intimidate potential witnesses before law enforcement can build their case. Alternatively, the Post notes that some companies who already notify users before a government requests have found that investigators have dropped data requests to avoid having suspects learn of their inquiries.

In the United States, the typical search warrant requires the police to notify the suspect that they are being searched. However, so-called "sneak-and-peek" warrants are not unheard of and allow investigators to search a suspect's house or other property without any notification. This ability was expanded in the PATRIOT Act, allowing the Federal Government to utilize such warrants in nearly any crime.

Apple and the other companies are seeking to nullify these sneak-and-peek warrants as they pertain to the digital realm.

Apple's changes will be unveiled in an updated privacy policy later this month, an Apple spokeswoman told the Post, and users will be notified in "most cases" when their information is requested by a government entity. Cases in which Apple would not notify users include data requests from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and subpoenas from the FBI for national security investigations.

“Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple,” company spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

The Cupertino company has been increasingly concerned about privacy matters since the discovery of secret intelligence program PRISM, with CEO Tim Cook saying the NSA would have to cart them "out in a box" before it could access Apple's servers. Apple has also hired certified privacy professional Sabrina Ross as privacy counsel to oversee the protection of customer data.

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

rmatthewware Avatar
95 months ago
If the government needs the data so bad, maybe they should get a warrant and physically confiscate the device?

or just install internet explorer on the phone...
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Z400Racer37 Avatar
95 months ago
In this case how long the notification will come before the data is turned over. I would imagine the government wants it to be as short as they can get it so you can't tamper anything.

My data. My property. Don't care what they want.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mattsasa Avatar
95 months ago
Thank God
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
95 months ago
this is terrible, way to let criminal enterprises and drug dealers get away with it.

if you have nothing to hide why do you care? this only helps criminals and terrorists. i am very disappointed in Apple.

"If you have nothing to hide..." is the typical bully boy response to this. You make it seem as if anyone caring about privacy is doing nasty things that need to be hidden away. The clear intent is to paint anyone who cares about privacy as morally and ethically inferior.

There's a good chance that Apple will get requests for example if you committed the serious crime of dating the daughter of a policeman. Or the even more serious crime of being the neighbour of a policeman who is curious about you. Or the even more serious crime of watching a violent policeman beating up someone in the street, and now they need to find some dirt on you to protect that policeman. There's a good chance that the information if it is saucy enough and you are just slightly famous will go straight to the next newspaper, or even has been paid for in advance by a newspaper.

This doesn't "only help criminals and terrorists". It has the most beneficial effect of protecting innocent people from a police state. Because I do lots of things that are none of any ****ing policeman's ****ing business, and I applaud Apple for protecting my freedom and my rights to do these things. And the right to say this without the fear that the number of speeding tickets that I receive will grow exponentially because I used the words "****ing policeman".

----------

If I have nothing to hide, you have no business with me.

If you have nothing to hide, you lead a very boring life. :D

----------

In people's paranoia about the gub'mint listening in on their Mother's Day wishes to dear ol' Mom, they are forgetting that there are often times when the data taps are absolutely justified - i.e., child porn traffickers are often caught this way. I hope Apple takes great care in exactly who they are alerting and don't inadvertently let criminals escape justice.

Here's what you don't get: All these laws are about protecting the rights of innocent citizens. The way to protect the rights of innocent citizens is to take away the incentives for the police to spy on people in a way that would be unacceptable if these people are innocent. That's why for example the results of illegal searches can't be used even if they prove someone is a criminal, because making these results invalid protects innocent people from illegal searches.

Since Apple is not the police, and has no idea what you are doing, asking Apple to take great care who they are alerting is ridiculous. They don't know, and they have no reason to care. Apple doesn't classify people into "innocent", "guilty", "possibly guilty". They classify people into "has an iTunes account" and "has no iTunes account", and that is all that Apple knows and needs to know.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Robert.Walter Avatar
95 months ago
Kudos to Tim Cook and the Apple team!

Now if Apple could just set-up its own:
1. DNS address system
2. TOR anonymization relay system.

We could be relatively sure not to be snooped on by google or the NSA.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bloomedis Avatar
95 months ago
Finally, some Fourth Amendment realization here.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...