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Apple yesterday released a statement about the questions that have been raised related to user information privacy and how they are dealing with it, trying to bring and end to the discussions related to them.
Since the last few weeks, Reports have been floating saying Apple was able to read the messages users sent/received via their proprietary messaging application, iMessage. Needless to say, they did not take to these accusations kindly. Although they publicly denied the allegations recently, people were still not convinced. So Apple released a report yesterday which expressly stated, “Our business does not depend on collecting personal data,” clearly taunting other well known companies, further saying, “We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers. We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form.”
They said they mostly receive these requests from law enforcement agencies who inquire about the lost or stolen devices. The report which covers the period from Jan 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013 also states, “These types of requests frequently arise when our customers ask the police to assist them with a lost or stolen iPhone, or when law enforcement has recovered a shipment of stolen devices”. These kind of requests mostly arise when the customers themselves seek assistance from the police in order to help them find a lost or stolen iPhone which Apple Information Requests”.
On the other hand, requests related to personal information such as iCloud, iTunes and Game Center is rather a “small fraction”. Any request that Apple receives asking for a users contact information, photographs or other such content, Apple logs these requests as “Account Requests”.
The report presents 2 tables, the first table shows account information requests. While most of the countries appears in double figures (total number of requests), The US shows the highest with about 1000-2000 requests. However, they were not able to disclose the percentage of account requests where some data was disclosed. The second table shows device information requests, where quite a few countries requested a lot of data. The percentage of device requests where some data was provided ranges from 0 percent to 100 percent for different countries.
Anyway, they say they have so far not received any order under the Section 215 of USA Patriot Act which gives ability to FBI and NSA to gather information about the users. However, Apple says they will most likely challenge such an order if they ever receive it. Hopefully, many Apple users will be finally relieved to hear this news.
Photo Credit – Matt Buchanan/Wikimedia Commons