June 17, 2013

Apple details government requests for data

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Apple says it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data for the six months ended in May.

The company, like some other businesses, had asked the U.S government to be able to share how many requests it received related to national security and how it handled them. Those requests were made as part of Prism, the recently revealed highly classified National Security Agency program that seizes records from Internet companies.

Prism appears to do what its name suggests. Like a triangular piece of glass, Prism takes large beams of data and helps the government find discrete, manageable strands of information.

Prism was revealed this month by The Washington Post and Guardian newspapers, and has touched off the latest round in a decade-long debate over what limits to impose on government eavesdropping, which the Obama administration says is essential to keep the nation safe.

Apple Inc. said that between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in data requests between Dec. 1, 2012, and May 31 from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters.

It said that the most common form of request came from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer's disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.

The company also made clear how much access the government has.

"We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order," Apple said in a statement on its website.

Apple explained that its legal team evaluates each request and that it delivers "the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities" when deemed appropriate. The company said that it has refused some requests in the past.

Facebook Inc. has said that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for data from all government agencies in the second half of last year. The social media company said fewer than 19,000 users were targeted.

Apple's stock rose $3.36 to $433.41 in premarket trading on Monday.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)