Apple: Feds Made 5K Data Requests Since December
Plus: China urges US to open up on surveillance
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 17, 2013 7:14 AM CDT
Updated Jun 17, 2013 7:44 AM CDT
A man smokes near the logo of Apple in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, April 2, 2013.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(Newser) – After revelations from Facebook and Microsoft, Apple is offering the public some details on government information requests. The US made between 4,000 and 5,000 requests to Apple for user data from December through May, the firm says; the requests were tied to between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts. Requests most frequently related to fighting crime, searches for missing kids, efforts to find Alzheimer's patients, and suicide prevention, the company said in a statement, per Reuters. "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."

"We don't collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place," the statement added. What's more, it said, FaceTime and iMessage conversations "are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them," not even Apple; nor are Siri requests stored "in any identifiable form," the company said, via the Guardian. Meanwhile, it must be bad because China is calling on the US to explain itself, Reuters reports: "We believe the United States should pay attention to the international community's concerns and demands and give the international community the necessary explanation," says a Chinese official.

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Jun 17, 2013 3:44 PM CDT
This is bleaping funny. Your local cops, county shire reeves, F.B.I., and D.E.A. officers make more than 5000k I.I.I. requests on perfectly innocent citizens every day. Your employer probably has permission via your job application to regularly do a full background check on you every few months. They use sophisticated paid search companies that delve into all your social media, email, twitter, Linkedin, and the likes. If you got a ticket in New Mexico last month I can find it even if the officer coded it not to appear on your record. That officer who stopped you did an NCIC entry on you at the stop (or the dispatcher did). I can see where that NCIC request was made and who made it. I can then tap into that jurisdiction's local electronic database and get a print out of the local-only ticket they issued to you. This is what traps new officer recruits. The agency gets an NCIC inquiry print out and finds any agency that did a search on you. You think the ticket was local in Bangor Maine but its there for the right people to see, including your employer in a driving job. As for your medical records, that's pretty much an open book. The insurance companies are allowed to share information with each other in the course of regular business. That protects them from you opening up a policy with multiple companies and then submitting bills to all of them and cleaning up like a crook. My grandparents were experts doing that and anytime they went into the hospital they made a killing in profit from triple billing. So what does it mean today? It means I can tap into your medical records through an insurance inquiry. Better yet, I just pay an underpaid and overworked medical technician to go in and access GE Centricity and look up your file. Funny thing about that is the NSA has to get a warrant to do that.
Jun 17, 2013 10:25 AM CDT
Corporations are beginning to fess up to the spying, government still lying about it
Jun 17, 2013 9:10 AM CDT
Who related the requests to those subjects? The same folks who related Iraq to WMD? Interfering with an individual's precious, private right to take one's own life is a matter of routine national policy? God, what a crock! The unmitigated gall! So, it really is prevailing policy that life belongs exclusively to the state and never to the individual. Any average person in my head would easily label me far left. But categories we toss around are usually flabby, foggy, contradictory and amorphous. Witness that I find the issue of gun control extremely difficult, for very old fashioned reasons that most would toss aside as sedition. And while I am digressing: do you really want your mental stability assessed by a faceless bureaucrat, using unpublished criteria? Do you even believe that there really are persons qualified to glance at available data and assess your supposed stability (non-judicially), predict your future behavior and abridge your freedom unilaterally? Or that sensible criteria really exist for doing that? Yet your actual psychoanalyst has been paid exorbitant fees and trying without concrete results for 40 years! In the broad area of psychology we are all over the place, willy nilly, hodge podge. We believe there are experts yet we all think that anyone knows a nut when they encounter one. Can you delineate how background checks could ever have prevented an incident like Newtown? The guns were not his. And what makes you think the people who end up shooting would ever be the ones denied a weapon! It is a humongous leap of arbitrary faith! It is entirely possible that this guy would have passed muster while timid, peaceable folks with a biological, medicated depression would be denied! And how is anyone to know someone takes medication? By voluntary divulgence or by spying on our confidential medical records? Whatever conclusions about ME you are now leaping to are just plain wrong because all I am doing is trying my humble best to think before I conclude. And it is not easy for me to reach a conclusion. But our legislators may. And rest assured, their product will be another monstrosity paved with good intentions.