Apple promises to disclose Government requests for app removal in its transparency report
Apple promises to include a new section in its transparency report that will have details of app removal requests from the government. Apple has also decided to drop its bi-annual transparency report for an annual report. This announcement came as a surprise when Apple shared its latest transparency report for the second half of 2017 (July 1 - December 31).
Starting with the Transparency Report period July 1 - December 31 2018, Apple will report on Government requests to take down Apps from the App Store in instances related to alleged violations of legal and/or policy provisions.
The latest transparency report show an increase of 20% request from the government and the company had received 29,718 demands to access 309,362 devices in the second half of 2017. This is an interesting development as the number of requests Apple received since the first half of the year have decreased, however, the number of national security requests has increased. Apple says it has complied with 79 percent of the total requests.
Apple says it will only comply with requests that have valid legal claims but will make an exception in case of emergency. When the company receives a request from the government, it will privately inform the affected individuals, so everyone involved knows what is happening to their data. However, some requests come with a gag-order forcing Apple to remain silent.
The announcement of including app removal requests cannot come at a better time. Apple has been facing increased criticism over its willingness to bend over to Chinese government requests for removal of apps in the App Store. China is forcing Apple to remove all kinds of privacy tools including VPNs from its Chinese App Store, as they are making it hard for the local government to monitor and track calls and messages.
Apple's willingness to share a detailed transparency report that includes data retrieval and app removal request is a good sign that the company is taking your privacy seriously. It also provides valuable insight into Apple's activities and serves as a check for the governments around the world from snooping on all private information.
So what do you think about Apple's decision to include App removal request and replacing bi-annual reports for annual report? Is this something to look forward to? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments and do not forget to subscribe for more updates.