The US Government Asked Apple For Data On Up To 10,000 Accounts In The Past 6 Months

US officials asked Apple for data about 9,000-10,000 devices or accounts in the past six months, the company today revealed.

Apple’s statement is the latest in a series of technology company announcements as the firms move to reassure the public about their participation in the US National Security Agency’s Prism program.

Here’s what it said:

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.

Apple asserted that it protected customers’ privacy by choosing not to retain unnecessary customer data.

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.

Facebook said on Friday that it had received 9000-10,000 US requests for user data in the second half of last year, covering 18,000-19,000 of its more than 1.1 billion user accounts.

Microsoft said it had received requests of all types for information on about 31,000 consumer accounts in the second half of 2012.

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