) received 4,000 to 5,000 requests from US law enforcement agencies
for customer data on 9,000 to 10,000 accounts or devices from
December 2012 to the end of May 2013, the company
said in a statement Monday
That's a number that's roughly two times shy of the
18,000-19,000 accounts that
) was asked about, and three times shy of the
) had to look up for the government in the second half of 2012.
However, these periods don't overlap much.
The number Apple disclosed was a lump sum of requests from criminal
investigations and national security matters.
) said that posting aggregate numbers
doesn't make much sense
. Google and Facebook recently
asked the government for permission
to publish separate data about national security requests.
Apple said that the most common types of requests came from police
investigating "robberies and other crimes, searching for missing
children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer's disease, or
hoping to prevent a suicide."
Apple reiterated that it does not provide any government agencies
with "direct access" to its servers and that all requests for
customer data have to be backed by court orders.
The company said that some types of content are not even collected
or maintained, such as fully encrypted FaceTime or iMessage
conversations, location data, or Siri requests. It's worth noting,
however, that Apple
was previously caught
for collecting and storing location data on its devices. The
company had to update iOS
to address the concerns
"We will continue to work hard to strike the right balance between
fulfilling our legal responsibilities and protecting our customers'
privacy," said Apple in today's statement.
Apple was the third company to report disclosures after Facebook
and Microsoft did so on Friday afternoon. Google has already been
publishing similar data about government requests (excluding
national security letters) in its
for three years.
A huge public debate about the scale and nature of cooperation
between government security agencies and tech companies like Apple,
), and Microsoft was provoked by the leaks engineered by the former
. According to the material he provided, tech giants
participated in the National Security Agency PRISM operation,
reportedly allowing government officials to tap into private user
participation in the program and said that no "direct access" was
some reports suggested
that the tech companies collaborated with security agencies
indirectly. The exact nature and scale of surveillance measures
remain blurry. But in the Q&A session with
readers today, Snowden
"Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped."
Are there more leaks to come?
Let's Thank the NSA for Showing Us the Real Cost
of Big Data
Google CEO's Reaction to PRISM Surveillance
Allegations: 'What the ...?'