Apple Reiterates Its Privacy Policy, Responds to PRISM Allegations

Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:07pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 4861 views

Apple has posted a statement regarding the recent privacy scandals surrounding the NSA. In the statement, Apple stated that it can't decrypt FaceTime and iMessage data once it is encrypted. This echoes a similar document that was leaked by the DEA which indicated it can't intercept iMessages.

In the statement Apple also revealed how many requests it received from US officials for customer's data. From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests.

Apple notes the most requests varied from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, and even trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Two weeks ago, when technology companies were accused of indiscriminately sharing customer data with government agencies, Apple issued a clear response: We first heard of the government’s “Prism” program when news organizations asked us about it on June 6. 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.

Like several other companies, we have asked the U.S. government for permission to report how many requests we receive related to national security and how we handle them. We have been authorized to share some of that data, and we are providing it here in the interest of transparency.

From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. 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 most common form of request comes 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.

Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team conducts an evaluation of each request and, only if appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities. In fact, from time to time when we see inconsistencies or inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it.

Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place. There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.

For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.

We will continue to work hard to strike the right balance between fulfilling our legal responsibilities and protecting our customers’ privacy as they expect and deserve.
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Apple also reiterated that it does not "store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form."

Read More via TheNextWeb

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OurWorldOurCreation - June 20, 2013 at 5:28pm
I find it interesting they had to ask for permission to reveal "how many requests we receive related to national security and how we handle them" and that they have been "authorized to share some of that data". This sounds to me like if they were involved in PRISM, that the NSA has the power to shut them up about it, as only they can "authorize" them to share that data, and apparently have only been authorized to share SOME of the data. Does a privacy policy hold in the face of "national security"? I think that has already been answered - indeed it does not. What an interesting world we have created for ourselves!
prostovanka - June 18, 2013 at 1:09am
This is such BS. "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." So they make everything evil legal and they are in the right?
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