Apple releases two reports each year on how customer data is requested by governments and private parties as part of its privacy effort. While the reports are generally fairly general, the latest report released this week includes a notable change from previous versions…

Sony A6500

Apple’s latest “Report on Government and Private Party Requests for Customer Information” covering the period between July 1 and December 31 last year includes one declassified national security letter during the six month period, which The Verge notes is a first for this disclosure report.

Here’s how Apple describes the report:

Apple is very seriously committed to protecting your data and we work hard to deliver the most secure hardware, software and services available. We believe our customers have a right to understand how their personal data is managed and protected. This report provides information regarding requests Apple received from government agencies and private parties from July 1 through December 31, 2016.

And here’s how Apple frames the disclosure about the declassified national security letter it received last year:

Table 7 provides information regarding United States National Security requests received, including orders received under FISA and National Security Letters (“NSLs”). To date, Apple has not received any orders for bulk data. We report all the national security orders we have received, including orders received under FISA and NSLs, in bands of 250. Though we want to be more specific, this is currently the narrowest range allowed by the government.

You can see the disclosure on table 7 of the full report here or specifically below:

The report only details the number of declassified national security letters received, of course, and not what the letter relates to for obvious reasons. Apple and the FBI very publicly disputed at the beginning of last year over the issue of cracking an iPhone 5c used in a high-profile shooting, but almost all other requests are handled quietly out of the public spotlight.

For example, Apple’s report says data from devices was provided in 72% of the requests made during the six month period detailed which includes 21,737 device requests.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news!

About the Author

Zac Hall's favorite gear