Friday, 05 July 2019 11:14

Australia sought access to 1817 Apple customers' devices in 2H2018 Featured

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Australia sought access to 1817 Apple customers' devices in 2H2018 Pixabay

Australian law enforcement authorities made 1817 requests seeking details of customers' Apple devices in the second half of 2018, according to a list of such requests released by Apple.

The 1817 requests covered a total of 2648 devices. "Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services," the company explained.

In 1369 of these cases, the requested data was provided, meaning about 75% were satisfied.

Australia's request were the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, but in the case of some other countries, more devices were requested. Mainland China, for example, made 689 requests but they covered 137,595 devices in all.

Japan made 754 requests that covered 2386 devices while South Korea made 50 requests that covered 4105. Singapore, on the other hand, made 1682 requests but they only covered 1719 devices.

Worldwide the highest percentage of requests that were granted was in China (96%), though there were countries with a much smaller number of requests - Croatia where one request was made covering a single device, Israel where one request was made covering four devices and the UAE where one request was made covering three devices - where the percentage granted was 100%.

Germany made an unusually large number of requests (12,343) which covered 19,380 devices, but only 77% of its requests were granted. As usual, the US was the highest of the lot, with 4680 requests for 19.318 devices and a 81% success rate.

There was another category of requests listed by Apple for the same period, these being for financial identifiers, meaning that the investigations in question were into fraudulent transactions.

In this category, Australia made 110 requests which covered 814 financial identifiers; 61 of these requests were met. Another category was account-based requests made by government; here 114 account requests were made in Australia.

"Account-based requests generally seek details of customers’ iTunes or iCloud accounts, such as a name and address; and in certain instances customers’ iCloud content, such as stored photos, email, iOS device backups, contacts or calendars," Apple explained.

In most such cases, Apple did not provide content to the authorities, only non-content data.

There were other categories where governments asked for accounts to be preserved, deleted and also emergency requests where danger to an individual was feared.

Apple also released copies of National Security Letters it had received from US authorities; however these were redacted to the extent where they were of no interest.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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