Apple Provided Customers’ Data on Indian Government Requests
The Indian government asked Apple to provide information regarding 27 devices and 18 accounts in the January-June 2018 period, with the company providing data in most of the cases owing to an iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation. The number of requests from India — in various formats such as subpoenas, court orders, warrants or other valid legal requests — also included 34 financial identifiers and three emergency requests, Apple said in its bi-annual transparency report released late Monday.
For device requests, Apple provided data to the Indian government in 63 percent of cases and 85 percent in the cases related to financial identifiers. “The high number of financial identifiers were specified in requests predominantly due to an iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation,” said Apple. “One request may contain one or multiple identifiers. We count the number of identifiers identified in each request and report the total number of identifiers by type (Device, Financial Identifier, Account),” the company added.
For account requests, Apple provided data in 78 percent of cases and for all the three emergency requests. In the July-December 2017 period, Apple had provided data in 14 out of 27 requests (52 percent) to the Indian government. Keeping with the global trends where several tech giants, including Facebook and Twitter, release bi-annually transparency reports, Apple has now launched a new transparency report website which makes it easier to scan data requests from various governments.
Globally, the company received 32,342 demands from governments to access 1,63,823 devices, with 80 percent of the requests granted. In total, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker approved more than 25,000 government requests to access customer data in the first half of 2018 – an almost nine percent rise in demands in the July-December 2017 period.
“Apple is committed to your privacy and being transparent about government requests for customer data globally. This report provides information on government requests received,” said the company. The governments around the world sent requests for device information on 29,718 Apple devices, with India asking for 27 device requests in the July-December 2017 period. Overall, the data was provided in 79 percent of cases globally.
“Apple regularly receives multi-device requests related to fraud investigations. Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services,” said the Cupertino-based company. Apple requires government and private entities to follow applicable laws and statutes when requesting customer information and data.
“We contractually require our service providers to abide by the same standard for any government information requests for Apple data. Our legal team reviews requests received to ensure that the requests have a valid legal basis,” the company has said earlier. “When we receive an account request seeking our customers’ personal information, we notify the customer that we have received a request concerning their personal data except where we are explicitly prohibited by the legal process, by a court order Apple receives, or by applicable law,” it added.