Apple Releases Guidelines for Law Enforcement Data Requests

applelogo.png In a new legal resources page posted on its website Wednesday night (via 9to5Mac), Apple outlined its guidelines regarding requests for customer data from from U.S. law enforcement agencies, specifying what information the company can and can not retrieve from devices upon the receipt of a search warrant or legal notice.

Regarding the extraction of data from passcode locked iOS devices, Apple states that it may only retrieve information from its own first party apps, which includes SMS messages, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history. However, Apple can not provide access to email, calendar entries or third-party app data. The company says the data extraction process itself can only be performed on devices in "good working order" at its Cupertino, California headquarters.

Apple will also assist law enforcement in returning lost iPhones to their rightful owners, agreeing to contact the customer of record and have them contact law enforcement to get their property back pending available information.

The new page follows a report from The Washington Post last week which stated that the company would begin notifying its users of secret personal data requests from law enforcement. Apple has become increasingly concerned about privacy matters since the discovery of PRISM, a secret intelligence program ran by the NSA.

CEO Tim Cook was noted as saying that the NSA would have to "cart [Apple] out in a box" before it could access the company's servers, as Apple also hired certified privacy professional Sabrina Ross last month to oversee the protection of consumer data.

Top Rated Comments

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85 months ago
The NSA is not a law enforcement agency. This announcement is nice, but it doesn't address the larger issue of government surveillance.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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85 months ago

... However, at the end of the day, there is no real point in being paranoid if the government looks into you. If you honestly have nothing to hide then there shouldn't be an issue...


Tell that to the scores of conservative groups that have been unlawfully targeted by the IRS. The government isn't retaining all surveilled data and storing it for later use to prevent terrorist attacks. It could care less about the terror being inflicted on the border states in the south by the waves of illegal democrat voters invading for example. Forgive me if I am skeptical of the so-called protection afforded me by spying on everyone in the US. We daren't profile the one group that seeks to undermine and do the most harm to us - even after they destroyed our World Trade Centers. We can't profile the one group that continues killing our troops and scores of innocent civilians overseas. No, this government is doing far more harm to our Constitution and liberties to pursue its own agenda than the Patriot Act ever did.

Meanwhile, I certainly do not trust what Apple or any other company has to say about the data they are already giving up to the Feds. This PR announcement (among others) is smoke and mirrors. The NSA and U.S government already have access to anything you do in iCLoud, your cellphone, your webcam, your PC, your laptop, and even your car. They certainly have all encryption algorithms and the ability to decrypt email, cloud storage, etc...

The current out-of-control, lawless government should be working for us, not the other way around. It's not a matter of having something to hide. It's a matter of Constitutional protection as American citizens. It's about limiting the power of centralized government. The 4th and 10th ammendments mean something. I just wish more children today were studying them and more people would actually read them.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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85 months ago

This is good that there are some transparent guidelines to this issue.

However, at the end of the day, there is no real point in being paranoid if the government looks into you. If you honestly have nothing to hide then there shouldn't be an issue.

I personally would not care if some NSA analyst read my text messages. I've got nothing to be guilty of. They might think I'm a bit weird though.

Everybody has something to hide. But putting that aside, it's not about whether or not people have something to hide. It's about whether or not the government has a reason to know absolutely everything about you. The requirement is on them to prove they need this information. We are not required to prove we need privacy. We get privacy as a natural right, and that privacy can only be breached with probable cause.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work. That's what the founders intended.

What the NSA and other government agencies in the executive branch are doing is ripping up the 4th Amendment, and claiming they have to because there's a bogeyman that wants to hurt you. What's more, they're setting the precedent that they can rip up any part of our constitution, at any time, just because they feel like it. Is that a precedent you want set?

What's more, the thing doesn't work! Other than some "LOVEINT" conducted by some corrupt employees at the NSA to illegally spy on their girlfriends or husbands, showing us that they can't be trusted with this power, what has PRISM actually successfully accomplished? It didn't stop the Boston Marathon bombings. It didn't stop Edward Snowden from fleeing the country with massive amounts of stolen intelligence. There are plenty of public examples of NSA incompetence, and PRISM not protecting us, and absolutely zero evidence that they've done anything well or actually protected us. If we really want to have a conversation about changing our constitution and giving up our freedoms, it needs to be a public one. All the NSA offers is some vague "well this stopped some threats" with no details to prove they're not making it all up. It's up to them to prove they need this power, and that it actually works as intended. It's not up to us to prove we need them not to. Absolutely nobody here needs to justify their desire for privacy.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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85 months ago

I actually dont remember this, article?


who cares
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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85 months ago
This is actually rather impressive. Good for them
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
85 months ago

Everybody has something to hide. But putting that aside, it's not about whether or not people have something to hide. It's about whether or not the government has a reason to know absolutely everything about you. The requirement is on them to prove they need this information. We are not required to prove we need privacy. We get privacy as a natural right, and that privacy can only be breached with probable cause.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work. That's what the founders intended.

What the NSA and other government agencies in the executive branch are doing is ripping up the 4th Amendment, and claiming they have to because there's a bogeyman that wants to hurt you. What's more, they're setting the precedent that they can rip up any part of our constitution, at any time, just because they feel like it. Is that a precedent you want set?

What's more, the thing doesn't work! Other than some "LOVEINT" conducted by some corrupt employees at the NSA to illegally spy on their girlfriends or husbands, showing us that they can't be trusted with this power, what has PRISM actually successfully accomplished? It didn't stop the Boston Marathon bombings. It didn't stop Edward Snowden from fleeing the country with massive amounts of stolen intelligence. There are plenty of public examples of NSA incompetence, and PRISM not protecting us, and absolutely zero evidence that they've done anything well or actually protected us. If we really want to have a conversation about changing our constitution and giving up our freedoms, it needs to be a public one. All the NSA offers is some vague "well this stopped some threats" with no details to prove they're not making it all up. It's up to them to prove they need this power, and that it actually works as intended. It's not up to us to prove we need them not to. Absolutely nobody here needs to justify their desire for privacy.


Spot on. The Constitution is a default-deny document. Unfortunately, the government has changed the root pasword to "National Security".
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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