Apple Says It Will Start Reporting Government Requests to Remove Apps from the App Store

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On a bi-annual basis, Apple issues a transparency report, which typically covers the standard account/data takedown requests. This latest report also includes a policy change.

On Friday, Apple issued its latest transparency report, which does indeed cover the number of takedown requests pertaining to Apple accounts, as well as requests to access Apple devices, from government bodies all across the globe. But, the report also includes a change to Apple’s policy regarding requests to remove apps from the company’s digital App Stores.

Apple has officially confirmed that it will start reporting on government requests to remove apps from the App Store. This change in policy will kick in beginning July 1, 2018:

“Starting with the Transparency Report period July 1 – December 31 2018, Apple will report on Government requests to take down Apps from the App Store in instances related to alleged violations of legal and/or policy provisions.”

These new reports from Apple will be an explicit detail of which apps, and what type of apps, governments around the world are trying to shut down and remove. Apple’s transparency reports will also tell us just how many times the company follows through with those requests to remove apps. As it stands right now, Google doesn’t share the same information for its Play Store.

Rounding out the transparency report, Apple revealed that it had received 29,718 requests for information on Apple devices from governments around the globe between July 1, 2017 to December 31 of the same year. In those situations, the company confirms it complied 79 percent of the time. In addition to that, governments also requested direct information regarding 3,358 Apple accounts, which Apple complied with 32 percent of the time.

You can check out the full transparency report through the source link below.

Our Take

While Apple has confirmed it will be reporting on app takedown requests from governments across the globe, it hasn’t said that it will actually name drop the apps specifically. So while we might know that Apple received requests to remove a certain type of app so many times from a certain government, we probably won’t now which app, or apps, specifically. That’s unfortunate, but this move for better transparency on Apple’s part is a nice step in the right direction.

[via Apple]

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