Apple to Launch a Global Law Enforcement Web Portal to Streamline Data Requests by End of 2018 [Updated]

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Apple this week announced it will be launching a dedicated web portal by the end of 2018 for authenticated law enforcement officers to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from the company.

Photo: Alejandro Mejía Greene via Flickr/Creative Commons

Apple also said it is building a team of professionals dedicated to training law enforcement officers, which the company believes will improve its ability to reach smaller police forces and agencies around the world. This will include the development of an online training module for officers.

The web portal will be available globally as part of Apple's new Law Enforcement Support Program, which the company detailed on the Government Information Requests page of its privacy website this week.

Apple says the program will allow it to uphold its fundamental commitment to protect the security and privacy of its users:
We believe that law enforcement agencies play a critical role in keeping our society safe and we've always maintained that if we have information we will make it available when presented with valid legal process. In recognizing the ongoing digital evidence needs of law enforcement agencies, we have a team of dedicated professionals within our legal department who manage and respond to all legal requests received from law enforcement agencies globally. Our team also responds to emergency requests globally on a 24/7 basis.

We publish legal process guidelines for government and law enforcement agencies globally and we publish transparency reports twice a year detailing the types of requests we receive and how we respond. In addition, we regularly provide training to law enforcement officers on the types of data available from Apple and how to obtain it consistent with our legal process guidelines.

By the end of 2018 we will begin the launch of an online portal for authenticated law enforcement officers globally to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from Apple.

We are building a team of professionals dedicated to training law enforcement officers globally, which will significantly increase our ability to reach smaller police forces and agencies. This will include the development of an online training module for officers. This will assist Apple in training a larger number of law enforcement agencies and officers globally, and ensure that our company's information and guidance can be updated to reflect the rapidly changing data landscape.

Apple is committed to protecting the security and privacy of our users. The above developments and the work we do to assist investigations uphold this fundamental commitment.
Apple requires law enforcement and government officials to follow applicable laws when requesting customer information and data. If they do, Apple complies by providing the narrowest possible set of data relevant to the request.

That information can include device identifiers, customer service records, and iCloud content such as emails, stored photos, documents, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, Safari browsing history, Apple Maps search history, iMessages backups, and iOS device backups, according to Apple's guidelines.

Where and when legally required, Apple may also provide basic customer information such as name, physical address, email address, phone number, and IP address, along with customer service records and Find My iPhone logs.

Apple ensures that it has never created a backdoor or master key to any of its products or services, and never will. Perhaps the biggest example of this was Apple's refusal to create a loophole for the FBI to brute force their way into the passcode-locked iPhone owned by the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack.

Twice per year, Apple publishes a transparency report that outlines how many data-related requests it has received from law enforcement, government, and private party officials, both in the United States and abroad.

In the United States, during the second half of 2017, for example, Apple received 4,450 requests for 15,168 devices. Apple provided data in 3,548 cases, or approximately 80 percent of the time. Worldwide, Apple received a total of 29,718 requests covering 309,362 devices, providing data 79 percent of the time.

Update: Apple is launching these initiatives in response to a recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the cybersecurity challenges and digital evidence needs of U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Apple has adopted all of the recommendations in the CSIS report and, on Tuesday, Apple's Senior Vice President and General Counsel Katherine Adams sent a letter to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announcing the launch of several new programs meant to help law enforcement agencies.

The full letter was obtained by MacRumors:

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple to Launch a Global Law Enforcement Web Portal to Streamline Data Requests by End of 2018 [Updated]
 
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nexusrule

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2012
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That's actually quite smart. More initiatives they proactively take to collaborate with police forces, when applicable, more strength their arguments will have when they feel they don't have to release private data.
[doublepost=1536241441][/doublepost]
Interesting coming from a company that is actively advocating they are NOT collecting private data about us through their services.
Maybe you should inform yourself about how these things actually works.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,527
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That's actually quite smart. More initiatives they proactively take to collaborate with police forces, when applicable, more strength their arguments will have when they feel they don't have to release private data.
[doublepost=1536241441][/doublepost]

Maybe you should inform yourself about how these things actually works.
I suspect a lot of the kneejerk reactions/comments are made by the uninformed.
 

DeftwillP

macrumors 6502
Jan 28, 2011
383
291
Theres a huge difference between leaving the door unlocked and installing a doorbell. Requests can be denied.
I worry that judges will see this not as a form of compliance but as a step toward granting more unwarranted privacy breaches in the name of public safety. Now that apple is saying more publicly that they can do it, the requests from law enforcement will no doubt increase by multitudes.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
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Interesting coming from a company that is actively advocating they are NOT collecting private data about us through their services.
That's why they cannot send a lot of information.

And of course many requests arise when someone's iPhone is stolen and they go to the police because they want it back. You'd be happy if Apple gives all the "find my phone" logs after the theft to the police.
 
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chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
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Isla Nublar
Everyone is so bent out of shape already, this isn't some back door being created, its simply a portal to filter requests through which I'm surprised they didn't have before.

This is a smarter way to do things. Police were still doing requests before, they're just doing them a different way now.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,510
3,102
I worry that judges will see this not as a form of compliance but as a step toward granting more unwarranted privacy breaches in the name of public safety. Now that apple is saying more publicly that they can do it, the requests from law enforcement will no doubt increase by multitudes.
Does it say anywhere that police will get access without a warrant?
 

Morgenland

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May 28, 2009
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"In the second half of 2016, Apple received between 5,750 and 5,999 National Security Orders. Apple reports National Security Orders to the extent allowed by law. Though we would like to be more specific, by law this is the most precise information we are currently allowed to disclose." []
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
Interesting... it's kind of like Apple is installing itself as a fifth branch of government (after Legislative, Executive, Judicial, and Journalism).

I could see Apple doing a lot better at reflecting the will of the people than the other four... Apple lives and dies with customer approval. The first three can more or less do whatever they want, while the fourth is beholden to advertisers.
 

Crwmlw

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2011
147
29
Chicago,Il
I personally think its a great move, its just putting a process in place to make it a little easier, so many people concerned about privacy, I get it, trust me. However, if you are doing nothing wrong who cares. I really dont think law enforcement is going to access your credit card to make purchases or look at your girlfriend or boyfriend's naked pictures. All these people complaining about privacy need to take a step back and look at the big picture. If anything would ever happen to a loved one, another terrorist attack etc. I would hope Apple would give up information to law enforcement from that persons phone to help them. Get over it people, if the police were to take my phone and I did nothing wrong have at it, you arent going to find anything. They can care less about your perosnal banking information etc. Its aonly a cell phone people..