Apple is providing record amount of customer data to US government

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Daily US Times, Silicon Valley: Apple’s biannual transparency report shows it provided more customer data to the US government.

The report published on Friday included details about the number and type of government and private party requests for customer information that the company received globally.

In the first half of 2019, the company received 3,619 “account requests” from the US government. The amount is nearly 36% jump from the six months prior and more than previous periods (the report is available as far back as 2013).

The US tech giant stated in their report ”when law enforcement officials suspect illegal activity, typically seek “details of customers’ iTunes or iCloud accounts, such as a name and address” and occasionally, “iCloud content, such as stored photos, email, iOS device backups, contacts or calendars.”

Apple provided the government with at least some information about the account in question in 90% of those requests. The percentage number was 88% in previous period.

The requests from the US government encompassed more than 15,301 customer accounts, another record high.

The report came amid high tensions between Apple and Trump administration over privacy policy. The heat reignited after the company turned down a request from FBI to unlock a mass shooter’s iPhones.

US attorney general William Barr repeatedly accused Apple and other tech companies of not doing enough to assist law enforcement in investigations. Barr specially expressed his frustration with  Apple’s unwillingness to create a “backdoor” that would allow officials to access encrypted information stored on customers’ devices.

Though Apple transparency report suggest otherwise. The company has been overwhelmingly responsive to government requests for information.

Even some FBI officials also taking Apple’s side saying that Apple has provided “ample assistance.”

In a statement Apple said: “Law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.”