Government to Allow Apple, Other Companies to Reveal More Information on National Security Orders
The government has struck a tentative deal with major tech firms that will allow them to reveal more information about how the government collects data on their customers.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the following joint statement Monday:
“As indicated in the Justice Department’s filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.
“This action was directed by the President earlier this month in his speech on intelligence reforms. While this aggregate data was properly classified until today, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with other departments and agencies, has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that required its classification.
The deal was completed last week. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and LinkedIn had filed lawsuits against the government to be able to disclose more information to customers. Apple didn't file a lawsuit but did file a "friend of the court" brief in support of the litigation.
"We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive," a statement from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo said. "We're pleased the Department of Justice has agreed that we and other providers can disclose this information. While this is a very positive step, we'll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps to address all of the reforms we believe are needed."
Apple also issued an "Update on National Security and Law Enforcement Orders" today. The full statement can be found below...
Apple has been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive. We believe strongly that our customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled, and we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the U.S.
We work hard to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world and we will continue to provide our customers with the best privacy protections available. Personal conversations are protected using end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime, and Apple does not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
Apple is reporting the actual number of requests for information related to law enforcement investigations. Law enforcement requests most often relate to criminal investigations such as robbery, theft, murder, and kidnapping. In addition, Apple is re-reporting all the national security orders we have received, including orders received under FISA and National Security Letters (NSLs), to reflect the new guidelines that allow us to report these orders separate from law enforcement orders, in bands of 250. This data represents every U.S. national security order for data about our customers regardless of geography. We did not receive any orders for bulk data. The number of accounts involved in national security orders is infinitesimal relative to the hundreds of millions of accounts registered with Apple.
Apple reviews each order, whether criminal or under a national security authority, to ensure that it is legally issued and as narrowly tailored as possible. If there is any question about the legitimacy or scope of the order, we challenge it. Only when we are satisfied that the order is valid and appropriate do we deliver the narrowest possible set of information in response to that order.
National Security Letters (NSLs), which are often the first step in an investigation, do not require a court order but by law they may not be used to obtain customer content. NSLs are limited to transactional data such as a customer’s contact information. Apple is required by law to comply with these NSLs if we have the information requested.
The information provided below replaces the U.S. data in Apple’s November 5, 2013 Report on Government Information Requests, which details the Account Information Requests and Device Information Requests we have received worldwide from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013.
Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.
Read More [Apple Statement]