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Apple reveals it has received between 4,000-5,000 US surveillance requests since December 2012


By Gillian West, Social media manager

June 17, 2013 | 2 min read

Apple has revealed it has received around 4,000-5,000 surveillance requests from the US government since December 2012.

The disclosure follows the reveal of US National Security Agency programme PRISM tapping into data held by Apple, Google and Facebook, to name but a few.

Last week Facebook and Microsoft both revealed the number of requests they had received from the US government. Facebook went first revealing in a blog post it had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data in the second half of 2012. Microsoft said it had received requests for all types of information on about 31,000 consumer accounts in the second half of 2012.

Apple revealed the figures on its website today (Monday 17 June) in an official statement which read: "From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from US law enforcement for customer data.

"Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters."

The statement reveals the most common requests were from police investigating crimes, searching for missing children, locating Alzheimer's patients or trying to prevent suicides.

The statement assured customers that requests were not automatically granted as a "legal team conducts an evaluation of each request" adding that "from time to time when we see inconsistencies or inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfil it." It was also revealed that certain kinds of data were never handed over as they were not stored, including iMessage and FaceTime conversations which are protected by end-to-end encryption. Location, map searches and Siri requests are also not stored.

The statement confirmed that the government agencies do not get "direct access" to Apple's servers and all requests for data must be via a court order.


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