Apple Experiences Sharp Upsurge in National Security Requests from the US
Apple Inc. has recently received numerous requests related to national security from the U.S. The number of requests was over four times more as compared to the regular requests received by Apple a year ago, as per reports revealed by the company on September 28, 2017. On September 26, Apple disclosed that it had received around 13,250 to 13,499 requests regarding national security that affected roughly 9,000 to 9,249 users. This data compares with an array of 2,750 to 2,999 requests that affected 2,000 to 2,249 users during the first half of 2016. The requests were received in the form of alleged NSLs (National Security Letters) and those under the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Apple as well as many other established firms report certain ranges as government rules, focus on preventing the disclosure of precise numbers. Apple refused to deliver comments other than the figures it revealed.
The revelations are voluntary, and companies such as Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp have still not reported any figures for the current year (2017). Whereas, previously, both Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp issued more precise reports such as separating NSLs and FISA requests. The U.S. government is required to wait for six months before reporting any precise level of information. Alphabet Inc.’s search engine giant, Google, stated that it had received nearly 0 to 499 NSLs (National Security Letters) that requested information of around 1,000 to 1,499 user accounts, during the first half of 2017. The number of requests were the same a year ago, however, the U.S government had requested for merely 500 to 999 user accounts, as per the transparency report submitted by the company.
It was not instantly clear as to what was driving such massive upsurge in requests to Apple. However, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Andrew Crocker, said that amount of government requests, especially for tech companies have been increasing since 2014, when information first started to become easily available as a measure of settlement between the government and the tech organizations.
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