Apple maintained its commitment to customer privacy in a fresh statement regarding the company’s implication in the NSA issue about customer data requests from government agencies.
Apple said that it came to know about the government’s PRISM program around the beginning of the month when news organizations questioned them about it. However, the company denied giving the government direct access to customer information. Furthermore, Apple clarified that before it grants a government request for data, it requires a court order.
Each request, the company claims, is reviewed by Apple’s legal team. If indeed there is a necessity for the request for customer data to be given, Apple says that it grants only the smallest set of information possible.
On the other hand, if the request itself is problematic, Apple declines to provide the information.
Moreover, Apple avers that it does not keep a huge amount of information regarding its customers. It even fails to give some types of information to the government simply because it has not collected such data. For instance, Apple does not save data regarding the location of consumers. Another example would be the messages sent via FaceTime and iMessage. These messages, according to Apple, have end-to-end encryption. In other words, only those involved in the conversation will have access to the message.
In the end, Apple assured its customers that it will continue protecting their privacy while remaining lawful to government policies.
Apple revealed that between the dates of December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, it had received some 4,000 to 5,000 requests for customer data from the government. Such information was used in matters of national security as well as in criminal investigations. Apple had asked for and had gotten permission to publish this information, according to its press release.
Apple’s statement is similar to those released by other tech companies following the NSA issue. Facebook, for its part, revealed that it had gotten some 9,000 to 10,000 data requests from the government whereas Microsoft had gotten around 6,000 to 7,000 requests. Google has also asked for permission from the government to divulge the number of requests it had received.
Click here to read the full statement on Apple’s website.