Sci-tech

Apple reports record number of USA national security requests

Apple reports record number of USA national security requests”

The tech giant said it received between 13,250 and 13,499 US national security orders during the first half of the year, according to its transparency report released on Thursday. This compares to 30,814 requests from 233,052 devices worldwide, although the ratio of requests made to requests fulfilled was about the same.

Google discloses the number of user data requests from government authorities alongside the total number of users/accounts specified in those requests in six-month increments, subject to certain limitations.

Although government data requests increased for Google, the rise was incremental and in line with disclosure trends over the past 10 years. This time eight requests were sent.

The request for information for a national security investigation is issued by the FBI in the form of national security letters (NSL) or in the form of a request under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

This is the highest number of requests from India Google has received since 2009, when the company's transparency reports began.

As has been the case from the time Google first started publishing its Transparency Report, the USA government easily topped the list of entities making requests for such user data in the latest report as well.

Google complied with 57 per cent of the requests then. For instance, it provided at least some of the data requested by the Indian government just 54 percent of the time and about 56 percent of the time to Germany.

Rebecca Herold, CEO of Privacy Professor, said the lack of details in the reports was especially troubling because Apple and Google are unable to release much information. It's not easy for a law enforcement agency to retrieve information. What is clear, however, is the increasing divide between technology giants like Apple and governmental security agencies, which regularly ask companies to violate their own important security protocols in order to root out criminals.

USA communication laws such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) need to be updated to accommodate the changes that have resulted from technological advances, he said.



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