Government to Allow Apple to Disclose More Data on Surveillance Requests

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,446
8,513



The United States Department of Justice today reached a tentative deal with Apple and other technology companies on data requests to allow the companies to provide more detailed disclosures on information requests from the NSA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
As indicated in the Justice Department's filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.
The relaxed restrictions on data disclosures come following a concerted effort by Apple and other technology companies to achieve greater NSA transparency. In July, Apple teamed up with multiple firms to request that the government allow them to offer regular reports on security related requests. Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with President Obama and several other tech executives to discuss NSA surveillance methods in December.

The new disclosure terms will allow companies to give out general figures on how often they receive demands for data from National Security Letters or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, according to The Wall Street Journal. Companies are allowed to report each individual category in ranges of 1,000, so if a company receives 2,400 requests, they are able to report that they received between 2,000 and 3,000 requests.

Alternatively, companies are able to report in more specific number ranges in increments of 250 but must lump National Security Letters and FISA requests together.

Companies are also allowed to report in general numbers how many customer accounts have been affected by the requests. While National Security Letter requests from the FBI can be reported in real time, there is a six-month delay in reporting the number of FISA court requests.

Following today's agreement, Apple posted an update [PDF] on its website with new information on Account Information Requests the company has received. Between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013 Apple received a total of 927 account requests in the United States and disclosed data for 747 accounts, Apple objected to 102 requests and disclosed no data in 254 requests, for a total disclosure rate of 81 percent.

Apple also received between 0 and 249 National Security Orders.
Apple has been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive. 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 U.S.
In June of last year, NSA program PRISM was revealed to be giving U.S. National Security Agency direct access to user data on corporate servers across a wide spectrum of Internet companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and more.

Following the reveal, Apple quickly published a statement of "Commitment to Customer Privacy" denying its participation in the NSA program. Last week, Cook told David Muir in an ABC interview that the government does not have direct access to Apple's servers and that "they would have to cart us out in a box" for that to happen.

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: Government to Allow Apple to Disclose More Data on Surveillance Requests
 

iSunrise

macrumors 6502
May 11, 2012
358
80
A step in the right direction. It'd be nice to know if one's specific account has ever been requested at some point.
Yeah, and if you´re doing something really bad, they would certainly let you know about it. C´mon...
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,158
2,130
Knowing what data is being mined doesn't solve the problem of it being mined in the first place...
 

SoAnyway

macrumors 6502
May 10, 2011
476
179
I'm highly skeptical about this and it smells like a shell game.

I definitely won't be using iCloud to store and sync personal data any time soon.
 

powerstrokin

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
696
1
I'm highly skeptical about this and it smells like a shell game.

I definitely won't be using iCloud to store and sync personal data any time soon.
I hate to burst your bubble, but your information will be taken regardless.

If you care to venture down the rabbit hole a bit deeper- start looking into Broadband Over Powerline (BPL) and ask yourself what you think you know about Smart meters and the like.

Here's a Wiki on Powerline Communications (PLC) to get you in the mood: Power Line Communication
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
I don't believe anything the government says...
Fortunately, the document is published by Apple, not the government.

A step in the right direction. It'd be nice to know if one's specific account has ever been requested at some point.
I concur with this... I feel like it's in the amendments somewhere that you have the right to know about when the government is investigating you.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,896
2,365
Milwaukee Area
Good thing the US Gov hasn't ever given us reason after reason, decade after decade, to distrust them and suspect them of lying for their own self-serving purposes of control and authoritarianism.

I'll consider USA being honest and sincere when it's done declining and falling. Til then, they've burned that bridge so many times there aren't even ashes left.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,509
3,101
In case nobody read it:

Total National Security Orders Received: 0 to 249
Total accounts affected: 0 to 249
 

RolyPolyBird

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2010
209
0
In case nobody read it:

Total National Security Orders Received: 0 to 249
Total accounts affected: 0 to 249
lol what point are you trying to make?

This is a pretty lame article. Snowden has already revealed that they can (and do) suck up the vast majority of email (including Apple's) and other data so I would imagine their need for Apple's compliance is very low. All major corporations have been a target for the security services since their conception, you can be absolutely sure NSA have so much secret access (including physical and assets within the company) that this sort of transparency means absolute jack.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
13,976
1,643
Australia, Perth
Wait a minute...

Didn't Apple say they don't disclose anything to the NSA ? How can Apple disclose "more" than nothing ? Or is this just for National Security Letters ?

Besides, if it IS though Nation Security Letters then that would be different as its the law, if you don't comply,

Just look what happened to Lavabit.
 

RolyPolyBird

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2010
209
0
Wait a minute...

Didn't Apple say they don't disclose anything to the NSA ? How can Apple disclose "more" than nothing ? Or is this just for National Security Letters ?

Besides, if it IS though Nation Security Letters then that would be different as its the law, if you don't comply,

Just look what happened to Lavabit.
The vast majority of NSA access to Apple data requires either no action/knowledge from Apple or just a nudge nudge wink wink. I bet the numbers they are revealing are based on events that may require court action. So they acquire the intel and then retroactively apply for a court warrant so that they have evidence that can be admitted into court proceedings more easily.
 

TsunamiTheClown

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2011
566
12
Fiery+Cross+Reef
Just read about this in the paper today and I was wondering how the companies affected would disseminate the data that they could share now.

Thanks for posting a link to Apple's report MR.
 

powerstrokin

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
696
1
"Government to allow"

Am I the only one that cringes at this?
You aren't alone there, nozebleed.

I find it ironic that people equate "government allowing xxxx" to "freedom".

It's pretty much the exact opposite of freedom.

The best slaves don't even realize they are slaves!