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Apple: We don't depend on collecting personal data

06 Nov 2013
Apple has released its first post PRISM transparency report

Hardware firm Apple has released its first full transparency report, revealing it passes on data in response to almost nine out of every 10 US government data requests.

Apple joins other firms, including Microsoft, Facebook and Google in releasing transparency documents. It is its second release since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency and PRISM, but the previous Apple transparency report was a much slimmer affair.

The report [PDF] covers the period between 1 January and 30 June 2013. In a dig at firms like Google and Facebook, the firm notes that it builds security into its products and does not have the sort of business model that its rivals do, which could affect users.

"Our business does not depend on collecting personal data. We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers," it said.

"We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form."

Apple said that it cannot reveal all information about data requests, but will say as much as it can. Where it cannot reveal information, the firm said that this may be because there is not any, or because it is challenging the request.

"Despite our extensive efforts in this area, we do not yet have an agreement that we feel adequately addresses our customers' right to know how often and under what circumstances we provide data to law enforcement agencies," Apple added.

Requests come in two forms, either for device or account requests. Apple is relatively open about device requests and provides a full picture.

These requests, which happen when a piece of hardware is lost or stolen, are complied with fairly regularly. In the UK Apple got 1,028 requests and responded 67 percent of the time. In the US it got 3,542 requests on 8,605 devices and delivered information in 88 percent of the instances.

Account requests are not as exact. In the UK it dealt with 127 requests on 141 accounts and provided information around a third of the time. In the US, Apple dealt with between 1,000 and 2,000 requests on 2,000 to 3,000 accounts.

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Dave Neal

Dave Neal is a reporter at The INQUIRER. Previously he worked at, VNUnet, and IT Week in editor and journalist roles.

He started his career when the Y2K bug was a front page story and remains committed to covering the interesting world of technology news.

He left the world of office working four years ago and now represents The INQUIRER from home in Kent with his dog.

Dave has been quoted in papers including the London Metro.

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