Apple to begin notifying users of info requests from law enforcement

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According to a new report from The Washington Post tonight, Apple will join Google and other high-profile companies in updating their privacy policy to routinely notify users when a government or law enforcement agency requests information on them.

The move should appease user privacy rights activists, who believe it’s unlawful for a government agency to have the power to access user data so discretely. The Justice Department, however, is concerned that the new routine could threaten investigations…

Here’s the report from The Post:

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.

And here’s Apple’s statement on the change:

“Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple,” company spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. 

Of course, this is all still part of the ongoing fallout from last year’s PRISM scandal. In June, whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked a number of internal NSA documents incriminating Apple and other tech companies as members of a data surveillance program.

All of the companies have since rebuffed the report, and several of them have launched a campaign to fight for greater transparency regarding government info requests. And judging by tonight’s report, it would seem that their efforts are yielding some results.