Apple creates webpage for quicker response to law enforcement requests

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 6
Before the end of 2018, Apple will roll out a dedicated website to allow law enforcement agencies of any size to get timely data from Apple, when legally requested.

Apple's iPhone 5c


Apple made the addition to its existing law enforcement communication systems clear on its privacy website late on Wednesday. In the update, the company reiterated that it responds to emergency requests 24 hours a day, and seven days week.

"We are building a team of professionals dedicated to training law enforcement officers globally, which will significantly increase our ability to reach smaller police forces and agencies," write Apple. "This will include the development of an online training module for officers. This will assist Apple in training a larger number of law enforcement agencies and officers globally, and ensure that our company's information and guidance can be updated to reflect the rapidly changing data landscape."

The data will not be available simply by request. Apple notes that the information must be properly, and legally requested. The portal will allow "law enforcement officers globally to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from Apple."

Apple's law enforcement liaison program has existed for some time, but the web portal is a new addition. Following the San Bernardino investigation, and resultant discussions after-the-fact, Apple revealed that the team exists to the public, and also disclosed that it provides information to law enforcement on a daily basis.

In the case of the San Bernardino investigation, on the same day of the shooting, Apple handed over information regarding the iPhone, including three names, and nine specific accounts attached to the perpetrators.

A day later, Apple received a search warrant for emails, messages and other information associated with three separate accounts. Another request on Dec. 16 sought information related to one name and seven different accounts. Apple was able to provide same-day turnaround on each of the two additional requests as well.

Apple noted that the official search warrant for data from the shooter's iPhone 5c was served on Jan. 22 seeking the same communications and customer information requested in December. Apple complied and on Jan. 26 provided the government with whatever data it had in its possession.

More recently, the "Five Eyes" nations, including the United States, issued a statement suggesting that tech companies build back-doors into encrypted products allowing for easier law enforcement access.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Apple already cooperates with law enforcement when given the proper court order/warrant.

    I think this is more of a goodwill/PR gesture. Apple knows many in law enforcement want access to encrypted data or some type of back door. So Apple offers them a carrot (which was always there, now it's just on a shorter string) to maybe appease them a little.
    StrangeDaysJanNLwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9

    I think this is more of a goodwill/PR gesture. Apple knows many in law enforcement want access to encrypted data or some type of back door. So Apple offers them a carrot (which was always there, now it's just on a shorter string) to maybe appease them a little.
    Apple knows there could be a big fight over this, and by bending over backwards in these areas it will be harder for the other side to paint Apple as negiligent and uncaring. I’m sure the other side sees this as a chess move on Apple’s part, and they are hoping that bullying companies with multinational government organisations will overcome Apple’s resistance.

    To those who believe the government’s stance that weakened encryption is not bad, please remember that what they’re asking is not the same as searching someone’s house with a warrant—it’s like forcing businesses who make doors and locks to manufacture them with weakened security so that they can easily break in to those houses. There is no way that can be accomplished without also making it easier for criminals to break in. Just because we may not have ‘anything to hide’ doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the right to pursue privacy if we want it.
    rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 242member
    Apple already cooperates with law enforcement when given the proper court order/warrant.

    I think this is more of a goodwill/PR gesture. Apple knows many in law enforcement want access to encrypted data or some type of back door. So Apple offers them a carrot (which was always there, now it's just on a shorter string) to maybe appease them a little.
    True, but don't forget Apple put this information on their privacy website. So it's also to give more openness to the customers.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Will Apple discriminate between real "Terrorist" accounts and those of genuine internal political dissidents? Steve Jobs was a humanist and I do not see any restraining measures Apple are taking to protect this portal from excesses a potential "Police State" may one day employ. A portal which has the potential of being exploited as a tool of the State undermines liberty and freedom of speech and expression unless it adheres to the highest principles of humanism and human rights.
    rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    claire1claire1 Posts: 327unconfirmed, member
    Can't believe this. What are our options now?

    If Apple bends over backwards for governments then the government won.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    claire1 said:
    Can't believe this. What are our options now?

    If Apple bends over backwards for governments then the government won.
    Not quite following you. What can't you believe? Apple has always cooperated with law enforcement when legally required to do so. This website isn't some backdoor to iOS. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Apple needs to start exploring data centers in geosynchronous orbit. It's the only possible place left to locate these things and not have to answer to any government.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    claire1 said:
    Can't believe this. What are our options now?

    If Apple bends over backwards for governments then the government won.
    Huh? Nothing has changed policy wise, this is simply a portal to streamline the legal request process.

    The portal will allow "law enforcement officers globally to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from Apple."


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Apple needs to start exploring data centers in geosynchronous orbit. It's the only possible place left to locate these things and not have to answer to any government.
    Sorry, that won't work.  Given the US's penchant for extraterritoriality, since no country owns outer space, then they will feel free to assert that US law extends into it.
    watto_cobra
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