Apple has launched a new area on its homepage to detail its commitment to customer privacy, essentially clarifying the company does not provide government access to its servers, after word broke of the U.S. government’s PRISM program. Previously this section was part of a panel but today’s Back to School addition moved it to a text link (via @markgurman).
Below are numbers Apple says it is authorized to share for the sake of transparency:
From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.
Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team conducts an evaluation of each request and, only if appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities. In fact, from time to time when we see inconsistencies or inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it.
Apple reiterates iMessage and FaceTime conversations are protected with end-to-end encryption “so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them.” Apple says even it cannot decrypt this data, plus goes on to note they do not store data related to customer locations, Map searches or Siri requests.