Nearly 100% surge in customer data request by Indian Government to Apple

The Indian government asked Apple to provide information related to customers’ data for 49 devices like iPhones in the July-December 2018. Almost 100 percent increase from the earlier January-June 2018 period when it asked for data for 27 devices.

The number of requests from India — in various formats such as subpoenas, court orders, warrants or other valid legal requests — also included 28 financial identifiers, 18 accounts, and 8 emergency requests, Apple said in its bi-annual transparency report released late Tuesday.

For the device requests, Apple provided data to the Indian government in 47 percent of cases (23 devices) and 57 percent in the cases related to financial identifiers.

For the eight emergency requests from India in the specified period, Apple provided data in six cases (75 percent).

For the full last year, Apple provided customers’ data to India in 53 percent of the cases.

In the earlier January-June 2018 period, Apple had provided data in most of the cases owing to an iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation.

Keeping with the global trend where several tech giants, including Facebook and Twitter, release bi-annually transparency reports, Apple last year launched a new transparency report website which makes it easier to scan data requests from various governments.

There were account preservation requests too.

In the case of India, Apple received three requests and preserved data for one such account.

Globally, Apple received 29,183 demands from governments which is down 10 percent on the last reporting period (January-June 2018)in order to access 213,737 devices in the latest period.

Germany had most legal demands, with 12,343 requests for 19,380 devices. “Apple is committed to being transparent about government requests for customer data and how we respond. We publish a transparency report twice a year disclosing the number of government requests for customer data Apple receives globally,” said the company.

Government requests include law enforcement agencies working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance locating lost or stolen devices, to instances where law enforcement is working on behalf of customers who suspect their credit card has been used fraudulently to purchase Apple products or services, to instances where an account is suspected to have been used unlawfully.

The company said it notifies the customer that it has received a request concerning their personal data except where it is explicitly prohibited by the legal process, by a court order Apple receives, or by applicable law.

“We reserve the right to make exceptions, such as instances where we believe providing notice creates a risk of injury or death to an identifiable individual, or where the case relates to child endangerment, or where notice is not applicable to the underlying facts of the case,” said Apple.


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