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PRISM: Apple received almost 1,000 data requests in 2013

28 Jan 2014
Apple holding page before live streaming event

Apple received 927 data requests from US law enforcement and intelligence agencies from January to June 2013.

The iPhone maker revealed the figure in a statement, confirming that it handed over data in 81 percent of cases. The company said the requests generally related either to matters of national security or criminal investigations, and that any information handed over was tailored to the exact needs of the agency.

"Law enforcement requests most often relate to criminal investigations such as robbery, theft, murder and kidnapping," read the statement.

"This data represents every US national security order for data about our customers regardless of geography. We did not receive any orders for bulk data. Apple reviews each order, whether criminal or under a national security authority, to ensure that it is legally issued and as narrowly tailored as possible."

The requests related to 2,330 Apple accounts, though the company claims it only handed over information from 747 of these. It also showed that Apple objected to 102 of the account requests.

The news comes just after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) ruled to declassify a number of PRISM operation details. The DoJ moved to let companies including Apple disclose non-critical information to the public about their roles in operations such as PRISM on Monday.

The move is an opening step in a wider sweep of reforms regarding how US intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, can collect data. The reforms were detailed by president Barack Obama in a speech earlier in January.

Apple said it is working with the White House and US attorney general to be even more open about its involvement with government agencies and to protect its customers' data.

"Apple has been working closely with the White House, the US attorney general, congressional leaders and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive," read the statement.

"We believe strongly that our customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled, and we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the US."

Apple claimed it has already taken proactive steps to protect its customers. "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," the firm said.

Apple is one of many companies battling to disclose the details of its involvement in PRISM. The PRISM scandal originally broke in 2013 when ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press proving that the NSA was collecting vast amounts of customer data from numerous technology companies including Microsoft, Apple and Google.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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