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Apple Transparency Report: Indian government sought data for 49 devices in July-Dec 2018

The Indian government asked Apple to provide information related to customer data for 49 devices between July and December 2018, the company revealed in its latest transparency report on Tuesday. This represented an almost 100% increase in device requests from January to June 2018, when the government sought data for 27 devices. Such requests can be in various formats such as subpoenas, court orders, warrants, or other valid legal requests.

The Indian government also sent Apple:

  • 28 requests for customer data related to financial identifiers, such as credit cards or gift cards
  • 18 requests for customer data related to account identifiers, such as an Apple ID or email address
  • 8 requests for customer data in an emergency matter

Apple said it provided data to the Indian government for:

  • 47% of its device requests (23 out of 49)
  • 57% of financial identifier requests (16 out of 28)
  • 61% of account requests (11 out of 18). Apple said it only provided “non-content data” such as subscriber, account connections or transactional information in these 11 cases.
  • 75% of emergency requests (6 out of 8) 

The company said it also received three account preservation requests from India, concerning four accounts, and preserved the data in one of these. It also received a single request to restrict/delete a particular account, but rejected it. Globally, Apple received 29,183 requests from governments – 10% fewer than in January-June 2018 – for 213,737 devices. Germany topped the list with 12,343 requests for 19,380 devices over the six-month period. It also sent the company 1,327 financial identifier requests, 335 account requests, and 16 emergency requests.

New category: requests for app takedowns

Apple’s transparency report also included, for the first time, the number of government requests for app takedowns for legal violations and platform violations. The company said it received 80 app takedown requests worldwide in July-December 2018 and acted on 75 of them, removing 634 apps from its App Store. None of these requests were from India. Apple said in its report, “[App removal] requests can be based on alleged/suspected violations of local law and/or of App Store platform policies. For example, law enforcement or regulatory agencies suspect an app may be unlawful or relate to/contain unlawful content, or may violate the App Store platform policies or relate to/contain content violating platform policies.”

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