Apple publishes its guidelines for law enforcement data requests

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Ever since the Edward Snowden revelations, the question of how companies like Apple respond to law enforcement and government requests for user information has taken on a new level of importance.

In a new document added to its website, called Legal Process Guidelines U.S. Law Enforcement, Apple provides an overview of how it deals with such requests in North America.

Apple explains:

These Guidelines are provided for use by law enforcement or other government entities in the U.S. when seeking information from Apple Inc. (“Apple”) about users of Apple’s products and services, or from Apple devices. Apple will update these Guidelines as necessary. This version was released on May 7th, 2014.

Apple recently made the decision to alert iOS users when government official request access to their data. Along with Google, Microsoft and Facebook, Apple has been outspoken about its belief that customers “have a right to know in advance when their information is targeted for government seizure”– although prosecutors have warned that such a movie could potentially undermine investigations by tipping off criminals and allowing them to destroy sensitive data. With that said, Apple can without such information providing this information to users in cases such as that which “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.”

The entire document can be read on Apple’s website at the below link.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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