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Apple opens up — slightly — on Hong Kong’s national security law

Apple opens up — slightly — on Hong Kong’s national security law

After Beijing unilaterally imposed a brand new nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong on July 1, many noticed the transfer as an effort by Beijing to crack down on dissent and protests within the semi-autonomous area.

Soon after, quite a few tech giants — together with Microsoft, Twitter and Google — stated they’d cease processing requests for consumer information from Hong Kong authorities, fearing that the requested information might find yourself within the arms of Beijing.

But Apple was noticeably absent from the checklist. Instead, Apple stated it was “assessing” the brand new legislation.

When reached by TechCrunch, Apple didn’t say what number of requests for consumer information it had obtained from Hong Kong authorities because the new nationwide safety legislation went into impact. But the corporate reiterated that it doesn’t obtain requests for consumer content material instantly from Hong Kong. Instead, it depends on a long-established so-called mutual authorized help treaty, permitting U.S. authorities to first evaluation requests from international governments.

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Apple stated it shops iCloud information for Hong Kong customers within the United States, so any requests by Hong Kong authorities for consumer content material must be first accredited by the Justice Department, and a warrant must be issued by a U.S. federal choose earlier than the information will be handed over to Hong Kong.

The firm stated that it obtained a restricted variety of non-content requests from Hong Kong associated to fraud or stolen units, and that the variety of requests it obtained from Hong Kong authorities because the introduction of the nationwide safety legislation can be included in an upcoming transparency report.

Hong Kong authorities made 604 requests for system info, 310 requests for monetary information, and 10 requests for consumer account information throughout 2019.

The report additionally stated that Apple obtained 5,295 requests from U.S. authorities throughout the second half of final 12 months for information associated to 80,235 units, a seven-fold enhance from the earlier six months.

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Apple additionally obtained 4,095 requests from U.S. authorities for consumer information saved in iCloud on 31,780 accounts, twice the variety of accounts affected throughout the earlier six months.

Most of the requests associated to ongoing return and restore fraud investigations, Apple stated.

The report stated it obtained 2,522 requests from U.S. authorities to protect information on 6,741 consumer accounts, permitting legislation enforcement to acquire the correct authorized course of to entry the information.

Apple additionally stated it obtained between 0-499 nationwide safety requests for non-content information on between 15,500 and 15,999 customers or accounts, a rise of 40% on the earlier report.

Tech corporations are solely allowed to report the variety of nationwide safety requests in ranges, per guidelines set out by the Justice Department.

The firm additionally printed two FBI nationwide safety letters, or NSLs, from 2019, which the corporate petitioned to make public. These letters are subpoenas issued by the FBI with no judicial oversight and sometimes with a gag order stopping the corporate from disclosing their existence. Since the introduction of the Freedom Act in 2015, the FBI was required to periodically evaluation the gag orders and raise them after they had been not deemed essential.

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Apple additionally stated it obtained 54 requests from governments to take away 258 apps from its app retailer. China filed the overwhelming majority of requests.

US tech giants halt Hong Kong police assist

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