Apple publishes latest Transparency Report, company saw year-over-year decrease in App Store removals and government requests

Apple’s latest Transparency report listing private and government parties’ requests for data from January 1 to June 30, 2020, has been published. The Transparency Report shows a decline in requests for data year-over-year. In the first half of 2020, the tech giant received 28,275 device requests out of which it covered 171,368 devices, meaning the company was able to comply with 80% of the requests. 

Comparing this report to the one published in 2019, Apple received 31,778 device requests in the first half of that year and covering 195,577 various devices. The Cupertino tech giant managed to comply with 82% of the requests made. 

Apple publishes latest Transparency Report, company saw year-over-year decrease in App Store removals and Government requests

Apple saw a decrease in App Store removals and government device request in H1 2020, shows latest Transparency Report

According to the tech company, the worldwide government financial identifier requests reduced year-over-year. The company says that the requests generally cover situations where agencies are working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance in matters of suspected fraudulent credit card activity used on Apple products or services. 

Examples of such requests are where law enforcement agencies are working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance regarding lost or stolen devices. Additionally, Apple regularly receives multi-device requests related to fraud investigations. Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services.

One request may contain one or multiple device identifiers. For example, in a case related to the theft of a shipment of devices, law enforcement may seek information related to several device identifiers in a single request. We count the number of devices identified in each request, received from each country/region, and report the total number of devices specified in requests received by country/region.

Apple publishes latest Transparency Report, company saw year-over-year decrease in App Store removals and Government requests

Though, Apple did see an increase in worldwide government account requests. The company received approximately 9,872 account requests covering 31,200 accounts. It managed to comply with 85% of total requests. Comparing this to the first half of 2019, the company has seen an increase from 6,840 account requests, however, the number of accounts has been brought down from 37,605. According to the Cupertino tech giant, it saw an increase in account preservation requests in the first half of 2020, more than the first half of 2019.

Under the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) government agencies may request Apple to preserve users’ account data by performing a one-time data pull of the requested existing user data available at the time of the request for 90 days (up to 180 days if Apple receives a renewal request). Examples of such requests are where law enforcement agencies suspect an account may have been used unlawfully or in violation of Apple’s terms of service, and request Apple to preserve the account data while they obtain legal process for the data.

On the other hand, App Store received 56 legal violation takedown requests covering 239 applications. Out of the 56 claims 46 of them came from China, covering 152 applications. The tech giant also received 17 requests covering 39 apps for platform violations. 

Apple App Store

Apple has also added something in the Transparency Report, “in certain instances” the company will offer to cover a customer’s iCloud content like email, iOS device backups, calendars, contacts, or shared photos when a valid emergency request has been made. The company has clarified this once more in the latest Transparency Report.

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About the Author

Usman has been playing games for as long as he can remember. He is an editor at iThinkDifferent and writes about games, Apple news, hardware, productivity guides, and more. When not writing for iTD, Usman loves to play competitive Team Fortress 2, spends time honing his football skills, and watches superhero movies.