Speaking with ABC News’ David Muir, Tim Cook washed away earlier rumours claiming that the NSA has a back door. As he pointed out, the government does not have access to Apple’s servers, and he once again emphasized the importance of transparency. To underscore its commitment to transparency, today Apple published an update on the report on government information requests published on November 5.
The document says that the company is working closely with the White House, the US Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to share its belief in transparency: “Customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled.” The great news is, the government’s new rules allow Apple to inform its US customers of law enforcement and national security orders more effectively.
We work hard to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world and we will continue to provide our customers with the best privacy protections available. Personal conversations are protected using end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime, and Apple does not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
National Security Letters (NSLs), which are often the first step in an investigation, do not require a court order but by law they may not be used to obtain customer content. NLSs are limited to transactional data such as a customer contact information. Apple is required by law to comply with these NSLs if we have the information requested.
You may recall that the numbers regarding US requests had been vague. Now, Apple has the exact number of requests: As the document reveals, the company received 927 law enforcement account requests specifying 2,330 US accounts. Apple disclosed data for 747 of those.