Apple today published its latest transparency report, detailing the requests it received from governments and private parties for customer data. For the first time, the report also includes information about requests Apple received to remove apps from its App Store.
As detailed by TechCrunch, Apple says that it received 80 requests from 11 countries to remove 634 applications from the App Store. These were localized requests, with governments requesting the removal of applications only in their country.
China made the most requests, asking Apple to remove 517 applications from the Chinese App Store. The country based its requests on violations of gambling and pornography laws. Vietnam and Austria also made requests for removal of applications that violated gambling laws.
Apple says that in a future report, currently on track for mid-2020, it will report on appeals received in response to demands to remove apps from localized App Stores.
Other counties that made removal requests included Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and Switzerland. Reasoning ranged from copyright infringement to privacy violations and more.
Elsewhere in the report, Apple details that it received 29,183 requests for device data from 213,737 devices worldwide. Apple supplied data in 22,691 of those cases. Germany made the most requests with 12,343, followed by the United States at 4,680 requests. In many cases, specifically in the United States, Apple says that it supplied data to help with stolen device investigations.
In terms of account data, such as iCloud information, Apple says that it received 4,875 requests across 22,503 accounts. Apple provided data in 82 percent of those requests.
Lastly, Apple has also published five national security letters for the first time. TechCrunch explains:
National security letters (NSLs) are controversial subpoenas issued by the FBI with no judicial oversight and often with a gag order preventing the company from disclosing their existence. Since the introduction of the Freedom Act in 2015, the FBI was required to periodically review the gag orders and lift them when they were no longer deemed necessary.
Apple first revealed it received an NSL in 2017 but never published the document. In its latest transparency report, the company finally published the letter — along with four others from 2018 which had the gag order lifted in April and May 2019.
The full transparency report from Apple can be found here.
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