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Apple, Microsoft and Facebook react to removal of PRISM gag order

Apple is first with transparency report redux
Tue Jan 28 2014, 14:46
An eye in close-up superimposted by a screen of random numbers

A FEW BIG TECHNOLOGY FIRMS in the US affected by a change that will allow them to report more information about government requests for information have already reacted to the news.

While some have briefly welcomed the change and promised keep up the pressure for more transparency, Apple has already rewritten its last transparency report.

So far Microsoft and Facebook have provided the same statement. We assume that this applies to all of the parties and is approved by them.

"We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive. We're pleased the Department of Justice has agreed that we and other providers can disclose this information," the statement said.

"While this is a very positive step, we'll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps to address all of the reforms we believe are needed."

Others have gone further faster, and Apple immediately released an updated statement about how it will react. It has replaced previous figures on government requests, and revealed that it received somewhere between 0-249 national security orders to release information on the personal accounts of its customers.

The firms are allowed to produce statistics only in bands of 250, and Apple said that it did not receive demands for bulk data.

"Law enforcement requests most often relate to criminal investigations such as robbery, theft, murder, and kidnapping," it said.

"In addition, Apple is re-reporting all the guidelines that allow us to report these orders separate from law enforcement orders, in bands of 250. This data represents every US national security order for data about our customers regardless of geography. We did not receive any orders for bulk data."

In the US, Apple received 927 national security information requests covering 2,300 customer accounts and complied with 81 percent of the requests.

According to Apple's statement the number of targeted users was negligible or "infinitesimal", compared to the total number of users. µ

 

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