Economy, Sci & Tech

Trump Team Pushing Google, Apple for User Account Details

Campaign group Privacy International predicts further “dramatic increases”.Campaign group Privacy International predicts further “dramatic increases”.

US government requests to Google for individuals’ data reached a six-year high in the first half of 2017, the company says.

A report published last week said the Trump administration had sought details about 48,902 accounts - 24% more than over the last six months of 2016, BBC reported.

Apple reported a 62% jump in the number of user account requests from the US over the same period - 6,407 in total.

Campaign group Privacy International predicts further “dramatic increases”.

Executive director Gus Hosein says that in the last year or two, the US has been so adamant that it does not have the data that it needs.”Now we are seeing that it is increasing demands for data. Is it just taking advantage of that narrative?” he added.

The US outpaced the global rise in user accounts demanded from Google, which was 14% for the period.

South Korea, Spain and Brazil were some of the other countries to experience a steeper jump than average.

But in the UK, the number of users included in account requests decreased by 7%, to its lowest number since 2014.

In its report, Apple said that account requests sometimes included iCloud content such as stored photos, emails, iOS device backups, contacts and calendars.

It provided content information for 32% of the user requests the US filed.

The iPhone-maker said that increases in user-account requests were predominantly due to phishing investigations.

The report also includes a separate breakdown of the number of national security orders received from the US government.

The range it reported for the beginning of this year shows more than a two-fold increase from the previous reporting period.

Hosein said that policy changes in the US probably meant more requests to technology companies would be made in the future.

“From October onwards, people applying to visit the US will have to hand over their social media accounts and passwords,” he told the BBC.

“If the numbers worked out now, just give it a couple more years under the Trump presidency.”


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