Apple has adamantly denied that it knew anything about the NSA PRISM platform before it was revealed last week. Apple reps for a second time have released a statement about Apple’s knowledge and position regarding the NSA’s spying program.
According to Apple reps:
“Two weeks ago, when technology companies were accused of indiscriminately sharing customer data with government agencies, Apple issued a clear response: We first heard of the government’s ‘Prism’ program when news organizations asked us about it on June 6. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order.”
That information is old news from the tech giant, which is why the rep added:
“Like several other companies, 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, and we are providing it here in the interest of transparency.”
“From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes 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.”
Apple says its own legal team evaluates every single government request for information and then acts with the appropriate steps. Apple says it only provides the narrowest amount of customer data based on court orders and other requests from authorities.
The tech giant also notes that it will deny some requests if there are inconsistencies in those requests. According to the Apple rep:
“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. There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.”
Those categories include “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. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.”
Is Apple engaged in NSA PRISM monitoring? The truth is we may never know since the program is shrouded in secrecy and involvement in the program is likely kept private by way of a secret court order.
Do you think the NSA PRISM program is being implemented on Apple servers?