Over the last 6 months, Apple said that they received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for customer data from U.S. law enforcement authorities due to criminal investigations and natural security concerns. A few days ago, Facebook and Microsoft revealed how many data requests they received – Facebook at 9,000-10,000 requests and Microsoft at 6,000-7,000 requests.
“We have asked the U.S. government for permission to report how many requests we receive related to national security and how we handle them. We have been authorized to share some of that data,” said Apple. Apple said that the requests were received between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.
Apple said that they first heard about “PRISM” when several news agencies asked them about it on June 6th. The requests came from federal, state, and local authorities.
Apple said that the most common form of request came from police that want to investigate robberies and crimes. Apple also received data requests to search for missing children, finding a patient with Alzheimer’s, and preventing a suicide.
“Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place,” added Apple. “For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers? location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.”