Published On: Thu, Sep 10th, 2020

Apple opens adult — somewhat — on Hong Kong’s inhabitant confidence law

After Beijing unilaterally imposed a new inhabitant confidence law on Hong Kong on Jul 1, many saw a pierce as an bid by Beijing to moment down on gainsay and protests in a semi-autonomous region.

Soon after, a series of tech giants — including Microsoft, Twitter and Google — pronounced they would stop estimate requests for user information from Hong Kong authorities, fearing that a requested information could finish adult in a hands of Beijing.

But Apple was noticeably absent from a list. Instead, Apple pronounced it was “assessing” a new law.

When reached by TechCrunch, Apple did not contend how many requests for user information it had perceived from Hong Kong authorities given a new inhabitant confidence law went into effect. But a association reiterated that it doesn’t accept requests for user calm directly from Hong Kong. Instead, it relies on a long-established supposed mutual authorised assistance treaty, permitting U.S. authorities to initial examination requests from unfamiliar governments.

Apple pronounced it stores iCloud information for Hong Kong users in a United States, so any requests by Hong Kong authorities for user calm has to be initial authorized by a Justice Department, and a aver has to be released by a U.S. sovereign decider before a information can be handed over to Hong Kong.

The association pronounced that it perceived a singular series of non-content requests from Hong Kong associated to rascal or stolen devices, and that a series of requests it perceived from Hong Kong authorities given a introduction of a inhabitant confidence law will be enclosed in an arriving clarity report.

Hong Kong authorities done 604 requests for device information, 310 requests for financial data, and 10 requests for user comment information during 2019.

The news also pronounced that Apple perceived 5,295 requests from U.S. authorities during a second half of final year for information associated to 80,235 devices, a seven-fold boost from a prior 6 months.

Apple also perceived 4,095 requests from U.S. authorities for user information stored in iCloud on 31,780 accounts, twice a series of accounts influenced during a prior 6 months.

Most of a requests associated to ongoing lapse and correct rascal investigations, Apple said.

The news pronounced it perceived 2,522 requests from U.S. authorities to safety information on 6,741 user accounts, permitting law coercion to obtain a right authorised routine to entrance a data.

Apple also pronounced it perceived between 0-499 inhabitant confidence requests for non-content information on between 15,500 and 15,999 users or accounts, an boost of 40% on a prior report.

Tech companies are usually authorised to news a series of inhabitant confidence requests in ranges, per manners set out by a Justice Department.

The association also published dual FBI inhabitant confidence letters, or NSLs, from 2019, that a association petitioned to make public. These letters are subpoenas released by a FBI with no legal slip and mostly with a wisecrack sequence preventing a association from disclosing their existence. Since a introduction of a Freedom Act in 2015, a FBI was compulsory to intermittently examination a wisecrack orders and lift them when they were no longer deemed necessary.

Apple also pronounced it perceived 54 requests from governments to mislay 258 apps from a app store. China filed a immeasurable infancy of requests.

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