U.S government requested information on 5,200 accounts from Apple

Being a tech giant is not easy — The government requesting data on users can be a headache as revealed in Apple’s latest report

Apple has revealed the latest US law enforcement agency requests for user information that the government lodged during the second half of the 2015 year period. The government lodged 1,015 requests for the customer account information and managed to affect 5,192 users.

The numbers show Apple’s biannual Report on Government Information Requests (Pdf), which extensively covers all local and international requests that law enforcements make for device and account information. They also include national security requests, which were received between the periods July to December of 2015.

The news is even more highlighted primarily due to the ongoing encryption battle between tech firms and the Department of Justice over encryption. In particular, Apple has also been embroiled in court fights with the government over the course of this year. Apple defines account requests as the disclosure of information which related to users iTunes or iCloud, which might be a name or an address, but in some cases includes iCloud content such as photos, email, iOS device backups, documents, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks.

From the 5,192 individual accounts affected by the U.S law enforcement requests, Apple says they handed over data for 4,411 accounts. Non-content was disclosed for 509 accounts while they disclosed “some” content for 322 accounts. The smartphone making giant objected to 116 specific cases and managed to furnish information in almost 82 percent of all government requests. In comparison, they also provided 81 percent of the 971 requests which covered the 2,727 accounts received in the first half of 201 5.

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Interestingly, China also lodged requests for data. A total of 32 requests were made which sought information relating to 6,724 accounts. The number is up from 24 requests which affected 85 accounts in the first half of 2015. The huge increase in per-account requests by the Chinese government was mostly due to phishing investigations, Apple said.

In device requests information, Apple received 4,000 separate filings from U.S agencies which pertained to 16,112 devices, counted by the serial number of IMEI. Apple complied 80 percent of the time. In the first half of 2015, 3,824 requests were lodged which impacted 9,717 devices.

Apple also reports receiving around 1,250 and 1,499 national security orders, which also includes FISA and National Security Letters associated requests, to release account information of between 1,000 and 1,249 customers.

Apple received 178 worldwide emergency requests for information which might include   contents of communications and customer records. Of the 178 emergency requests which were received, 108 came from the U.S. Emergency requests are those that come in the cases which involve an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requires its disclosure.

Apple’s transparency report comes at a time when a battle about encryption of consumer devices is raging on.

Written by Ali Raza

Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.