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Apple responds to PRISM with privacy statement

Apple confirmed its commitment to privacy in the wake of the NSA scandal, following similar moves by Microsoft and Facebook. 

By Contributor / June 17, 2013

A sign outside Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. A document, leaked by Edward Snowden, was the first hard evidence of a massive data collection program aimed at combating terrorism under powers granted by Congress after the 9/11 attacks.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 data requests for customer data from US law enforcement over a period of six months ending this May and said that it denied the government direct access to its servers.

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The company’s statement came after the nine Internet connection companies involved in the PRISM surveillance program have come under increased scrutiny for releasing user information to the National Security Administration.  

“Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team conducts an evaluation of each request, and only if appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities,” the statement reads. 

“Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team conducts an evaluation of each request, and only if appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities,” the statement reads.

To fulfill government requests, Apple has released information from between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices from Dec. 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013.

The company also assures users that they do not “collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about [its] customers.”

“Conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can receive them,” the statement reads. Apple also says that it does not store customers’ location, map searches or Siri requests in “any identifiable form”; the company did not elaborate as to what this identifiable form is.

The Obama administration has not granted permission to any of the nine companies involved in the Prism program to release details about how many of the requests pertain to national security. Federal, state, and local information requests were lumped together, and included both criminal investigations and national security matters.

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