Apple has released its transparency report for the second half of 2020. The report details all the requests made by governments from across the globe and various agencies. The iPhone maker has said that it received requests for 83,307 devices – a number that is less than half as many requests received in 2019.
The transparency report also included litigations faced by the companies. Apple reportedly shared data for 77% of the requests whereas in the previous year (2019), the company shared data for 80% of the requests. However, the most interesting point to note is the reduction of requests; especially given that it was during the US Presidential elections.
Less than half as many requests
Apple’s data indicated a surprising drop in government data requests despite the fixating spectacle of the 2020 US presidential election. Four years earlier, hackers successfully spread stolen emails and other embarrassing material across the internet, spawning conspiracy theories that persist to this day. During the 2020 election, social media companies including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said they’d ramped up efforts to tamp down on disinformation and spread of potentially hacked material.
According to the report, the government of Germany made the most requests for data to Apple in the second half of 2020. The number of requests made by Germany accounted for 16,819 during the same period. Comparatively, the country made 19,633 requests in the second half of 2019.
Apple said national security-related requests made by the US under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) targeted as many as 24,499 accounts, which could include stores photos, emails, contacts, calendars or device backups. Apple said it received as many as 499 National Security Letters from the FBI for subscriber information, targeting as many as 999 accounts. Apple said it does not produce transaction information or connection logs in those instances.