Cops get more data from Apple

Australian law enforcement has sought more data about Apple devices, latest transparency report reveals

In the second half of 2016 Apple received fewer device-based requests from Australian law enforcement agencies compared to the first half of the year. However, the requests related to a higher number of devices, according to the iPhone maker’s latest transparency report. 

The new transparency report (PDF) covers the period 1 July to 31 December 31. Apple says device-based requests often relate to lost or stolen devices such as iPhones, but the company also regularly receives requests that relate to multiple devices — such requests are typically related to fraud investigations.

The data sought often relates to the details of a customer associated with a device or device connections to Apple services, the company said.

In the period covered by the report, Australian government agencies sent 2584 device requests to Apple, covering 5139 devices. By way of comparison, in the first half of 2016 the company received 2988 requests relating to 4757 devices.

Apple provided data in response to 87 per cent of the requests in the second half of the year, compared to 79 per cent in the first half.

Australian organisations issued the company with 91 requests relating to Apple customer accounts, such as iTunes and iCloud accounts. The requests covered 108 accounts. In 65 per cent of cases Apple provided data in response to requests.

In every case that data was provided by Apple, it was account-related information such as the name or address of the relevant customer, but not content (such as data stored within an iCloud account). In total the company provided data about 73 accounts.

In the first half of 2016, Apple received 108 account-based requests covering 113 accounts. Apple disclosed data relating to 58 accounts during the half.

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