From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.
Six months, call it five thousand requests for ten thousand accounts.
There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it. For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
So if they’re not providing iMessage and FaceTime conversations, nor device location, Siri requests or map searches, what are they providing?
Presumably the “For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them” bit a way of saying “we don’t know what you’re saying, but we know who you’re saying it to.
It feels a tad disingenuous. iMessage and FaceTime communications are not immune from this tracking.