Last night, Apple published a new legal resources page on its websites, which outlines the guidelines for law enforcement or other government entities in the U.S when requesting information from Apple about its users.
Apple and other tech companies have been demanding more transparency from the U.S. government about such data requests in the wake of the NSA controversy. However, due to the lack of much progress, companies like Apple are fighting back by defying authorities by notifying users of secret data requests from law enforcement agencies as they believe a user has the right to know in advance when their information is being targeted.
Apple has mentioned this in the new legal resources page:
Apple will notify its customers when their personal information is being sought in response to legal process except where providing notice is prohibited by the legal process itself, by a court order Apple receives (e.g., an order under 18 U.S.C. §2705(b)), or by applicable law or where Apple, in its sole discretion, believes that providing notice could create a risk of injury or death to an identifiable individual or group of individuals or in situations where the case relates to child endangerment.
In the guidelines, Apple states that it can provide data such as SMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history to law enforcement, pursuant a valid search warrant. It also clarifies that it won’t be able to provide email, calendar entries, or any third-party App data. Apple has also clarified that it does not store any geolocation of devices.
In the FAQ section, Apple has clarified that while it can intercept email communication upon a receipt of valid Wiretap Order, it cannot intercept iMessage or FaceTime communications as they’re end-to-end encrypted.
Apple says it will also help law enforcement in returning a stolen or lost device to a rightful owner. Apple will contact the owner, and inform them to contact law enforcement to recover their device.
You can check out Apple’s new legal process guidelines for U.S. law enforcement by following this link.
Hat tip: 9to5Mac