U.S. law enforcement agencies made between 4,000 and 5,000 requests to Apple to hand over customer data, the firm has said. A statement issued by Cupertino to reassure its users on its commitment to customer privacy, a couple of days after Facebook issued its own statement following the NSA surveillance revelations–read Fast Company’s tracker article here.
The requests, from federal, state and local authorities and covering both criminal investigations as well as matters of national security, came in the six months between December 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013, says Apple, and cover between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts and devices.
“The most common form of request,” said the statement, “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.”
After Apple’s Legal department has evaluated every single request it then decides whether to release the relevant data, it said. “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.”