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Apple spills the dirt on how it deals with the NSA

Apple NSA Data Request Document

Like many companies out there, Apple has become frustrated by the restrictions that the United States government has placed on what it can disclose about the types of customer information that it hands over to law enforcement officials. The company took a proactive step toward greater disclosure on Wednesday when it released a document that showed how many law enforcement requests it has received in every country except the United States and how many of those requests have resulted in customer information being handed over.

Although Apple is forbidden from detailing how many requests it gets from American law enforcement officials every year, the company maintains that the “vast majority” of requests have nothing to do with customers’ personal information that they’ve disclosed in their iTunes, iCloud, or Game Center accounts. Instead, Apple says that most requests are made on behalf of Apple customers who have had their devices lost or stolen. The company also gets in a dig at rival Google by saying repeatedly that it doesn’t generate revenues by collecting vast troves of data on its customers.

Apple is still under a gag order and can’t report the specific number of requests that it gets from the United States government but the company does say that it’s received requests for between 2,000 and 3,000 different user accounts from law enforcement officials. A chart showing the number of requests for account information in various countries follows below.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.