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Apple opens Spain books in spy row

Alex Dunham · 6 Nov 2013, 11:36

Published: 06 Nov 2013 11:36 GMT+01:00

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Apple has followed in the footsteps of Yahoo, Google and Facebook by publishing a report which reveals the numbers and type of requests for user information by world governments.

Although the US is by far the biggest information seeker, with requests for data on more than 2,000 accounts exceeding all other countries combined, Spain’s positioning as third most prying may leave Spanish Apple users feeling a bit wary.

Spanish intelligence services sought information on 102 accounts from the California-based company in the first six months of 2013.

Out of these user accounts, information was disclosed for 19 of them and denied for 77.

The UK, with 141 requests, was the second biggest information seeker out of a total of 31 countries listed.

"We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers," Apple said on Tuesday.

"We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form."

The technology giant also complained that US restrictions prevented it from disclosing the precise number of national security orders and number of accounts affected by such orders. Figures for the US were given within ranges of 1,000.

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"We strongly oppose this gag order," they added.

"Apple has made the case for relief from these restrictions in meetings and discussions with the White House, the US attorney general, congressional leaders and the courts."

The multinational corporation is the latest technology company to demand that the US government reform their surveillance programmes after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the NSA's spying practices.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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