The Washington Post reports Apple, along with Microsoft, Facebook and Google will begin notifying users when government agencies request personal data, ending a practice where companies usually comply with investigator demands.
The only time these companies will not notify users about data requests is when they are gagged by a judge or other legal authorities.
Apple and other are trying to distances themselves from revelations the National Security Agency was eavesdropping on online services, revealed last December in part by leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Prosecutors have opposed this change in practice by Apple and others, citing notifying users could possibly tip off criminals, allowing them to delete digital evidence and undermine investigations.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet, released the following statement:
“Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple,”
Apple and others launched a website last year to lobby Washington to limit the ability of the government to collect user data and to ensure further transparency and free flow of information.
As for Canadians, earlier this week it was revealed government agencies request user data from telecoms in Canada over 1.1 million times annually, as revealed by Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier’s ongoing investigation into the matter.