The Washington Post reports that Apple is one of several tech companies planning change the way it handles government requests for customer information in the near future. According to the Post, Apple will begin notifying any customer whose information is requested by law enforcement later this month.
Microsoft, Facebook, and Google are also adjusting their own policies accordingly. The companies say that users have a right to know when their data is being turned over to officials. The government, on the other hand, argues that this could give criminals under investigation a chance to fight back, cover their tracks, and avoid being caught.
This move could end up causing quite a bit of trouble for these companies, as law enforcement typically tries to prohibit any attempts to alert the target of an investigation. These agencies will no doubt attempt to find loopholes that they can exploit to stop companies from carrying out these new policies.
To that end, it’s important to note that not every type of information request will trigger these notifications. Certain federal agencies, such as the FBI, engaging in national security investigations can issue legally-binding gag orders that will prevent the companies from informing the subject of the disclosure.