Apple Inc. (AAPL) to notify users of information requests bylaw enforcement

Posted May 3, 2014

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is going to start notifying its users of secret personal data requests from law enforcement, according to The Washington Post. Apple believes that users have a right to know in advanced if their information is being targeted by the government.

Prosecutors are saying that this move could tip off criminals and allow them to destroy potential digital evidence while covering their tracks and intimidating potential witnesses before law enforcement agencies can build their case. Some investigators have dropped data requests to avoid having suspects learn of their inquiries.

A typical search warrant requires the police to notify the suspect that they are being searched. The “sneak-and-peek” warrants are not unheard of and allows investigators to search a suspect’s house or other property without any notification. This was expanded into the PATRIOT Act and allows the federal government to utilize such warrants in nearly any crime. Apple and other companies are seeking to have these sneak-and-peek warrants nullified as pertaining to digital companies.

Apple will apply the changes in an updated privacy policy later this month. Users will be notified in “most cases” when information is requested by a government entity.