Apple to create portal for law enforcement data requests

Apple to create portal for law enforcement data requests
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Apple is slated to unveil later this year a new portal that law enforcement agencies can use to submit and track requests for user data related to investigations.

The technology company said it will also create a team to train law enforcement regarding digital evidence as well as offer online training to authorities on how to submit requests through the portal, according to a letter sent to Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden signs series of orders to tackle climate change | Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge MORE (D-R.I.) by the company that was provided to The Hill.

Apple has previously handled such requests over email.

“As more data ends up online and on our devices, we have to come up with new, smart ways for tech companies and law enforcement to unlock information that can solve crimes,” Whitehouse said in a statement to The Washington Post.

The company can provide some data to law enforcement that users store on its iCloud service, however, it doesn't have as easy access to its encrypted phones. Apple has, in the past, pushed back against law enforcement authorities who have tried to get it to provide a way into its phones.

The company has staked a firm position that introducing backdoors for law enforcement would create vulnerabilities that could be exploited by nefarious actors.

Disputes with law enforcement hit an apex in 2015 and 2016 after the FBI tried to compel the company to help it break into the phone of a suspect following a shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The company fought back vigorously against those FBI's requests.

Other technology giants such as Google and Facebook, as well as telecommunications companies, regularly field data requests from law enforcement.

Many internet platforms publish transparency reports several times a year detailing the volume of requests they've received. In recent years, federal investigators and law enforcement agencies have begun to ramp up their information requests.