Apple Must Issue More and More Data to Authorities

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In the US, Apple needs more and more data from the iCloud to be available to security agencies. This is from a transparent report that Apple has published. The so-called “National Security Requests” of the US government are increasing more and more.

Apple has to handle more and more requests from the US government with regard to national security. There was a quadrupling in the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2016. Now the numbers have risen again, according to a transparency report from Apple referring to the second half of 2017. There were a good 16,000 inquiries during this period. About 10,800 iCloud accounts were the subject of the investigation.

The data requests relate not only directly to the content of iCloud accounts but also to so-called metadata. These can be valid under the laws “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” or in the presence of a “National Security Letters” even without a court order. What exactly was asked is secret. Apple may only report on the number of cases, but not on the causes and other circumstances.

In about 80 percent of cases, Apple then really had to release the data. Only in 717 cases, Apple had to issue real user data such as backups, photos, e-mails, address book or calendar entries. In one case, data were also delivered to a German authority, otherwise the data was largely passed on to US authorities.

Apple does not just release the data, but with the help of its own legal department, checks whether this is allowed and the authorities comply with the formalities. What many users do not know: iCloud backups contain enormous amounts of data that are automatically backed up.

In the future, Apple also wants to tell how often authorities asked to remove certain apps from the App Store. So far, Apple has not listed this in his banner report.

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