The announcement comes on the heels of recommendations from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which noted some of the technological challenges facing law enforcement.
(TNS) — Apple plans to launch an online portal for law enforcement requests for data by the end of the year.
The company — whose most high-profile interaction with law enforcement was its refusal a couple of years ago to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino mass shooters, setting off a debate about privacy vs. national security — said this week that it wants to help the government with lawful requests for information.
“We believe that law enforcement agencies play a critical role in keeping our society safe and we’ve always maintained that if we have information we will make it available when presented with valid legal process,” the company said on the updated Government Information Requests page in the Privacy section of its website.
Apple also said it is building a team to train law enforcement officers around the world, and will launch an online training module for officers.
The company is responding to recommendations from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which recently released a report on how law enforcement, Congress and service providers can work together to balance the need for security and safety with technology users’ civil rights and right to privacy.
Apple this week sent a letter to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, who worked with CSIS. It was signed by Kate Adams, senior vice president and general counsel for the company.
“As the CSIS report finds, the rapidly changing nature of technology makes law enforcement’s job more complex,” Adams wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors. “I am encouraged by the report’s recommendations and believe that the new initiatives we are implementing will help address these challenges.”
She also mentioned that Apple already does “extensive” work helping law enforcement. She said that in 2017, Apple responded to more than 14,000 requests from local, state and federal agencies in the United States, involving more than 62,000 devices, accounts or financial identifiers.
“Apple is committed to protecting the security and privacy of our users,” the company said on its website. “The above developments and the work we do to assist investigations uphold this fundamental commitment.”
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