June 17 Apple received over the last
six months between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for customer data
from U.S. law enforcement authorities relating to criminal
investigations and national security matters, the company said
Microsoft and Facebook Inc published similar
data last week after reaching a deal about disclosures with U.S.
national security authorities.
"We have asked the U.S. government for permission to report
how many requests we receive related to national security and
how we handle them. We have been authorized to share some of
that data," Apple said.
In a statement posted on its website Apple said that the
requests were received from Dec. 1 2012 to May 31 2013, and
between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in
those requests, which came from federal, state and local
The most common form of request came from police
investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing
children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer's disease,
or hoping to prevent a suicide, it said.
"Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our
customers' personal data, and we don't collect or maintain a
mountain of personal details about our customers in the first
place," the company said.
Apple said conversations which take place over iMessage and
FaceTime are "protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but
the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot
decrypt that data".