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Apple’s 2018 transparency report shows a rise in requests for data

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Apple's new interactive website for its transparency report details just how much data governments around the world are requesting.
Apple’s new interactive website for its transparency report details just how much data governments around the world are requesting.

Image: Pascal Deloche / Getty Images

Apple may no longer be sharing , but it’s being more transparent than ever when it comes to reporting the data requests the company receives.

The , released on Thursday, covers the first six months of 2018. The report details all the data requests Apple received from January through June of this year from governments around the world. Previously as , Apple’s transparency report this year comes with a that helps breakdown the data visually.

In total, Apple received 32,342 data requests — a 9 percent rise from the last reporting period — from nearly 50 countries in the first half of 2018. These governmental requests sought data access form 163,823 devices. Apple complied with 25,829, or 80 percent, of these requests. Apple explains that these device requests cover identifiers such as an Apple product’s serial number.

Most device data requests received by Apple were from Germany. The country issued 13,704 data requests, 42 percent of the total number of queries, covering 26,160 devices. The United States came in with the second most requests, a total of 4,570 requests spanning 14,911 devices. Apple complied with 3,697, or 81 percent, of the data requests made by the U.S.

The report breaks out interesting details behind some of these stats. For example, a high number of requests from Germany and South Korea were due to stolen device investigations. Many of the requests from China are were also due to insurance fraud investigations.

In addition to device requests, a total of 4,177 account requests for 40,641 devices were made from countries around the world. This number is up 25 percent from the previous period. These account requests are based on information such as a user’s Apple ID or email address, according to Apple. These queries may also include a request for the content data, such as photos, email, or contacts, connected with the account.

While the U.S. made the most account requests with 2,397 requests covering 16,416 accounts, the jump in the overall number is due to a rise in data requests from China. China sought data on 19,908 accounts with just 33 requests. Most of the requests from China were involving fraud investigations. The U.S. requests were also due to extortion and suspected unauthorized account access/phishing investigations.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has been publishing its biannual transparency report . Along with its new website, there was another to the report. Apple is now separating National Security Letters and FISA request info in its transparency report. The company has previously combined the two since it first reported them in 2014.

Apple received 0 to 499 National Security Letter requests on 1,000 to 1,499 accounts. The company only provides a range in number of requests as required by law. There is also a legally required six-month reporting delay on FISA requests. Apple will include that data in its transparency report after Dec. 31.

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