Last week findings were revealed by Canada’s Interim Privacy Commissioner that government agencies asked telecom companies for over 1.2 million data requests annually.
Thirteen companies were asked to respond to the Interim Privacy Commissioner and 9 responded jointly, but out of all the tech companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and eBay), only Apple Canada responded and detailed their practices back in 2011, reports Michael Geist, who received the documents on Friday thanks his Access to Information Act request:
The document is notable for several reasons. First, Apple Canada responded within one month of the Privacy Commissioner letter, promptly providing specific information on its practices. It advises that the company has a database of approximately 10 million individuals and that it received about 100 requests for information on its users. It does not charge a fee to comply with those requests.
Second, much like the telecom and Internet companies, Apple Canada does not notify the individuals whose information has been requested or disclosed.
Third, I have been advised that there are no other relevant documents to the request. This confirms that Apple Canada was the only company to respond to the Privacy Commissioner request. The other major companies apparently did not respond. Their transparency reports now provide raw data on access requests, though their specific policies on requests, notification of affected individuals, and fees related to requests largely remains a mystery.
You can check out Apple’s response embedded below:
Back in late 2013, Apple published a report which detailed all the government data requests it receives, including numbers from Canadian authorities. Just last week, Apple and other tech companies declared it would start notifying users of data requests from government agencies, defying the U.S. government for the sake of greater transparency and accusations of collaborating with the NSA.