Apple has released its biannual transparency report for the period of January to June 2017, which details how frequently it gets requests for customer data from governments, and other private parties. And with more than a billion iOS devices active around the world, the report shows how governments are increasingly looking to Apple to gain information about people.
Last year, in the period between January 1 and June 1, the Indian government requested information on 18 accounts. This number has increased to 23 in 2017. And out of the total, Apple claims to have provided no data for two of the requests, whereas it provided “non-content data” against 21 of these requests. Apple classifies non-content data as subscriber or transactional information. In other words, as compared to 89 percent of account requests made by the Indian government where data was provided in 2016, the requests have gone up to 91 percent in 2017.
Apple defines the number of account-based requests as a request received from a government agency seeking customer data related to specific Apple account identifiers, such as Apple ID, email address, full name and telephone number. Apple says, account-based requests can be in various formats such as subpoenas, court orders or warrants. Apple counts each individual request received from each country, and report the total number of requests received by a country. ALSO READ: Apple approaches TRAI over DND app that accesses private messages
Along with the total number of account requests, Apple also provides data on a range of categories covering government requests for emergencies such as missing children, requests related to stolen devices, fraud requests, account deletion/restriction requests, civil non-government cases and account preservation requests, all of which can be viewed in the report.
Interestingly, the report adds that a new record was set by the US government, which submitted more national security requests than ever before. According to the report, in 2017, Apple received 13,250-13,499 national security requests from the US government, which led to affect between 9,000 and 9,249 people using Apple’s devices. That’s more than double the number of requests Apple reported for the last half of 2016. ALSO READ: Apple Music crosses 30 million paid subscribers, says that isn’t enough for competition: Report