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Apple Calls Out U.S. Government’s Lack Of Transparency In Requests For Data

Apple Calls Out U.S. Government’s Lack Of Transparency In Requests For Data
[Image: Flickr user Cordey]

Apple has joined Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and other large consumer-tech companies by releasing a report documenting the number of government requests it received in the first half of 2013 requesting data on its users. And, like those companies, Apple isn’t thrilled about the “gag order” that prevents private companies from disclosing the exact number of U.S. government-issued national security orders they receive, or how many user accounts are affected by such orders.

The Apple report specifies the exact number of requests made by each country’s government, except for the U.S. Under the “Total Number of Law Enforcement Account Requests Received,” for example, Apple says it received “1000-2000” U.S. government requests.

From a statement issued by Apple:

We feel strongly that the government should lift the gag order and permit companies to disclose complete and accurate numbers regarding FISA requests and National Security Letters. We will continue to aggressively pursue our ability to be more transparent.

Apple isn’t alone: In September, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook filed in the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, all requesting the right to disclose the number of data requests they receive from U.S. government agencies related to national security.

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