Apple Device Access Requests Decline
Apple received over 29,700 requests from law enforcers to access customer devices in the second half of 2017 and provided data in 79% of cases.
The findings are revealed in the tech giant’s latest Report on Government and Private Party Requests for Customer Information covering July 1 to December 31 last year.
The requests cover just over 309,000 devices, more than double the 151,000 it received over the same time period in 2016, and back then the number of requests was slightly higher (30,184).
Apple claimed that in the US, the high number of devices specified in requests was “predominantly due to device repair fraud investigations, fraudulent purchase investigations, and stolen device investigations.”
In China, it was due to “tax/device export investigations, device repair/warranty fraud investigations, and stolen device investigations.”
Apple added that device-based requests usually seek “details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services.”
The firm famously prides itself on providing access only up to a point where it is technically possible, and will not – for example – accede to requests by law enforcers to unlock encrypted devices by re-engineering products. That has led to a well-publicized stand-off with the FBI in recent years.
The firm isn’t allowed to be as transparent with national security-related requests, although it claimed not to have any orders for bulk data “to date.” It said that during the second half of 2017 it received 16,000-16,249 national security orders affecting 8000-8249 accounts.
From the next report, Apple claimed it will reveal the number of apps removed from its app store.
The report comes as a new bill calling for even greater transparency on the part of Silicon Valley firms was approved by a Senate committee last week.
The new National Defense Authorization Act includes provisions which would force US tech firms that do business with the US military to disclose if their products have had source code examined by foreign governments.
A Reuters report last year revealed that HP allowed Russian operatives to scrutinize software used by the Pentagon.
Source: Information Security Magazine