US made twice as many data requests to Apple in the last six months

The US and other governments around the world needed a lot of help getting data from Apple devices last year.

The number of national security orders issued to Apple by US law enforcement doubled to about 6,000 in the second half of 2016, compared with the first half of the year, Apple disclosed in its biannual transparency report. Those requests included orders received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as national security letters, the latter of which are issued by the FBI and don’t require a judge’s sign-off.

Critics of National Security Letters, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, say they “allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and Internet activity without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review.” Companies that receive national security letters are subject to gag orders, which means they can’t even disclose they’ve received such orders — unless the letters become declassified.

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