Apple’s Transparency Report 2H / 2017 provides information on government requests

Apple has its latest transparency report which includes data requests from governments for the second half of 2017, thus covering data between 1 July and 31 December.

Worldwide, 309,362 devices should be processed

Apple’s transparency reports are intended to provide customers with information about how many data-related inquiries have been received by law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Worldwide, Apple received a total of 29,718 requests for 309,362 devices and delivered 79 percent of the data (in 23,445 cases). Apple received a similar number of requests from July to December 2016, but the number of devices included has doubled compared to the current report. Apple received 30,184 requests for 151,105 devices last year, serving 72 percent of those requests.

The data requests cover a wide range of circumstances. Examples include cases where law enforcement agencies work on behalf of customers because someone has lost a device, for example. Furthermore, the inquiries are made in credit card fraud or other criminal investigations.

National security inquiries

Apple states that there were between 16,000 and 16,249 “National Security Orders” and provided data for 8,000 to 8,249 accounts. The number of these national security contracts continues to grow and has more than doubled since the July-December 2016 report. In the first half of 2017, Apple received a similar number of inquiries. There were no national security letters. These are usually issued to companies and include a request for user data on suspicion of serious crime.

While Apple seeks to be as transparent as possible in these reports, the government does not allow companies to disclose specific details about the volume of national security inquiries received. Instead, Apple may only specify a rough number. As reported, Apple plans that in the future, a more precise number of these government inquiries can be implemented. We can therefore expect implementation from the report for July-December 2018.

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