Apple announced recently that it will be building a global web portal for law enforcement officers where they can file respects for data, location tracking and other details. Apple seems to be taking the step after siting a report from Center for Strategic and International Studies, which sheds light on cybersecurity challenges and access to digital evidence needed by US law enforcement agencies. The news was announced in a letter sent by Apple’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Katherine Adams to US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, which was recently obtained by MacRumors.
Along with the web portal, the letter also states Apple to be working on building a team, which will train law enforcement officers in these matters. The focus here seems to be on smaller police forces that cannot afford the same resources as a big law agency. In order to make it easier, Apple will also be developing training module for officers.
While Apple has strict guidelines of what information it will reveal, is said to give out information on device identifiers, customer service records, iCloud content, photos, documents, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, Safari browsing history, Apple Maps search history, iMessages backups, and iOS device backups.
In some specific cases, Apple is also said to provide, user information such as name, physical address, email address, phone number, customer service records and Find My iPhone logs. Apple will be providing all the information on basis of a request filed by a government official that adheres to its process.
That said, Apple promises that it has never built a backdoor for any of its products or services and doesn’t intent to do it in the future as well. A good example of this the company refusing to give a backdoor access to the FBI in order to get data from the iPhone of the shooter involved in the 2015 San Bernardino attack.
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The company states that it publishes transparency reports twice a year that shed light on the number and nature of requests its receives from government officials. Apple stated to have received a total of 29,718 requests regarding 309,362 devices in the second half of 2017. Out of that. Apple complied about 79 percent of the time.