This report from Apple will be making the rounds. In the report Apple discloses as much information as they say they can about government information requests. Overall, not much new is learned — except perhaps that given the customer database size Apple has, the requests are very few relatively speaking (Apple says between 2000-3000 accounts are effected, and many report that Apple holds 600 million credit cards in the iTunes system).
The best part about the report, and the reason why I am linking to it, is the masterful job Apple does at shaming people/entities/corporations/governments in a public document without outrightly coming out to shame them.
Take this obvious dig at Google for example:
Perhaps most important, our business does not depend on collecting personal data. We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers. We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
Yeah, Larry Page. Or this dig at Google again (later in the document):
Unlike many other companies dealing with requests for customer data from government agencies, Apple’s main business is not about collecting information.
Now, in this report, it is not just Google, and companies like Google, that Apple is slinging some mud at — it’s also the United States government. While Apple outwardly disagrees with the limited reporting and the vague nature of requests, the biggest slam is in their first table.
That table lists the account requests Apple received from every country which has sent one to Apple. Each country has a detailed and accurate numerical breakdown of the requests, accounts effected, and compliance numbers — conveniently Apple put these into a nice percentage to see what percentage Apple is rejecting.
Except for the United States, where the data is laughably in a vague range, per the demand of the United States. (Increments of 1000.)
Apple could have omitted other countries, not done the percentage thing, or made the data look generally less stupid from the United States, but they didn’t.
Instead Apple left the data as is, reported the way Apple wants to report the actual numbers, so that the entire world can see how asinine the United States is being about allowing a company to report numbers. Numbers, not names of people, just numbers. What good does it do any terrorist if they know the number is 1, or 999?
I just love this side of Apple.
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