Apple’s latest Transparency Report reveals a perhaps not unexpected, but rather worrying, jump in the number of secret requests being made by the FBI for it to reveal user data for reasons of national security.
While many figures in the report remain reliably, if not comfortably constant, the number of National Security Requests affecting specific accounts jumped as much as four-fold, from as little as 250 to as many as 1,249, over the first half of 2015 to the second.
Unlike other requests detailed in the report, these orders do not need to be approved by a judge and companies subject to them are gagged from disclosing any more information.
Indeed, Apple is only allowed to report the numbers in batches of 250, making it difficult even to establish exactly how much this figure has grown.
This leap cannot be attributed as a response to the San Bernardino shootings, as that only happened in December last year.
Obviously, it’s with a positive aim that many tech companies are making it more clear what requests they receive from government, and those that are complied with, but as ever that line between security, privacy and transparency is a pretty blurry one.
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