Apple, Facebook, Microsoft: Govt Has Made Thousands of Customer Inquiries

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NSA PRISM

Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft now say the government has requested data on tens of thousands of its customers.

On Sunday, Apple revealed that it has received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for information on customer accounts or devices from federal, state, or local authorities over a six-month period; Facebook says it received government surveillance requests over a six-month period affecting a total 18,000 to 19,000 Facebook accounts; Microsoft says it received 6,000 to 7,000 criminal and national security warrants and subpoenas involving some 31,000 accounts.

In the wake of National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden’s allegations and revelations, technology giants like Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have scrambled to quell customer concerns over privacy and government access to their private accounts.

The companies requested that the government allow them to release data on how many user accounts U.S. law enforcement has requested access or information on.

Apple has not specified how many of its 9,000 to 10,000 government access requests came from the NSA. Instead, it noted that the most common types of requests were 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."

Facebook said the government requests it received include “things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat.”


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