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April 20, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:06am

Apple gives more device data to US authorities than any other government – but who requests the most?

News: Transparency report reveals who asked for data and who got it.

By Alexander Sword

Apple gives more access to user device information to US authorities than to other countries, but receives most requests from Germany authorities.

According to its transparency report for the second half of 2015, the technology company received 4000 requests for access to user information for 16112 devices from US law enforcement.

It provided some data in 3195 of these requests, making 80 percent of the total.

German authorities made a much larger number of requests for data compared to all other countries, totalling 11989 and covering 31360 devices.

However, it was only granted data in 52 percent of these requests.

The figures also revealed that UK authorities make a disproportionately large number of requests compared to some counterparts when differing populations are taken into account.

UK authorities made one request for device information for roughly every 30,000 people, compared to the US making one for every 80,000.

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In China, meanwhile, only one request was made for every million people.

This is despite fairly similar penetrations of iOS devices amongst the countries’ smartphone bases: 34.1 percent, 39.1 percent and 27.1 percent of smartphone users have an Apple device in the UK, US and China respectively.

Apple notes that most device requests relate to lost or stolen devices, but adds that "device requests may include requests for customer contact information provided to register a device with Apple or the date(s) the device used Apple services."

Apple also detailed account requests, which usually relate to information about an account holder’s iTunes or iCloud account, such as a name and an address.

There the figures for the UK and US were roughly the same, at around one per 300,000 people.

The US still saw disproportionately more requests approved, with information provided in 82 percent compared to 58 percent in the UK, 53 percent in China and 52 percent in Germany.

In terms of emergency requests, the US received 106 emergency requests, while the UK saw 43.

Apple said that it had received between 1250 and 1499 national security orders received with between 1000 and 1249 accounts affected.

Apple has not received any orders for bulk data, it said in the report.


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