Apple's Latest Transparency Report Shows Jump in National Security Requests

Apple LogoApple this week released its latest transparency report [PDF] outlining government data requests received from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

In the United States, Apple received 4,479 requests for 8,958 devices and provided data 80 percent of the time (in 3,565 cases). Worldwide, Apple received 30,814 requests for data from 233,052 devices and provided data 80 percent of the time (in 23,856 cases).

Overall demands for data were slightly down compared to requests during the same time period last year, but Apple disclosed a much higher number of national security requests that include orders received under FISA and National Security Letters. According to Apple, to date, it has not received any orders for bulk data.

Apple says it received 13,250 - 13,499 National Security Orders affecting 9,000 to 9,249 accounts. That’s up from 2,750 - 2,999 orders affecting 2,000 to 2,249 accounts received during the first half of 2016.

transparencyreportsecurityorders
Though Apple attempts to be as transparent as possible in its reports, the government does not allow the company to release specific details when it comes to the number of National Security requests received, instead requiring a number range to be provided to customers. Apple uses the narrowest range permissible by law.

Apple lately has been making more of an effort to be clearer about the type of information governments around the world have asked for, and its last two reports, this one included, have been highly detailed.

Along with the total number of device requests and National Security Orders, Apple also provides data on a range of categories covering government requests for emergencies such as missing children, requests related to stolen devices, fraud requests, account deletion/restriction requests, civil non-government cases and account preservation requests, all of which can be viewed directly in the report.

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Top Rated Comments

R3k Avatar
87 months ago
and...Germany takes the cake.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nt5672 Avatar
87 months ago
Thankfully, Apple is stepping up here.

Now lets all write congress and tell them how asinine it is for the government to prevent accurate report counts of such requests.

Remember the government claims that there is no privacy violation tracking metadata. These counts are simply metadata. So metadata publishing is bad for government, but perfectly OK for individuals and companies. Another case of the government not looking out for its citizens.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macTW Avatar
87 months ago
Oh man. 13,250 to 13,449. That range is a major difference, whether it be 13,250 or 13,449 will change my view on the government.

/s :)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
larrylaffer Avatar
87 months ago
Check out the numbers for South Korea. 106 requests, but 139,134 devices.

Busting up a stolen phone ring maybe?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
87 months ago
and...Germany takes the cake.
"Device Requests make up the majority of requests that Apple receives. Most commonly they come from law enforcement agencies working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance locating lost or stolen devices."

In some countries, a device request will happen whenever a customer wants their insurance to pay for a stolen phone. To get any money, the case has to be reported to the police, which will automatically request information from Apple in the hope to find the phone.

So this is how (un)secure your data is
Yeah, it's totally insecure if Apple tells the police that you did indeed buy the phone that you reported as stolen to your insurance company.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
87 months ago
Bottom line: Just assume you're under investigation and use your iPhone accordingly.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)