Friday, September 7, 2018

Apple to create online tool for law enforcement data requests

Apple has for the most part had a very healthy relationship with law enforcement, which took a turn for the worse with the San Bernardino shooting. In one of the most iconic stands, Apple refused to create a custom version of iOS with a backdoor for law enforcement. While Apple has complied with all reasonable legal requests, the company is now taking one more step to simplifying the process by creating an online tool for data requests. Typically, when law enforcement has to request data from Apple for a user, they send Apple’s legal counsel an e-mail with the requisite paper work to process things. According to Reuters, Apple General Counsel Kate Adams has sent a letter to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse stating that Apple plans to create an online tool for police to formally request dat. Additionally the company will also be creating a team to train law enforcement on what kind of data they can and cannot request.  Creating a tool like this should not be alarming to anyone. Apple does provide user data to police and other law enforcement agencies, but only when presented with a valid warrant. Even in such cases, the company can only share data that is stored in the cloud and cannot give out user data that is stored on iPhones, which are encrypted by default. Apple has handled 14,000 U.S. law enforcement requests in 2017, all sent via e-mail. The company said that all requests were responded to within 20 minutes or so, regardless of the time of night or day. The tool would simplify the process and allow officers of the law to make and track the status of their requests. For the end-user, this makes very little difference, but for the company, the tool would hopefully simplify the process.

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