Apple received the summons from the Justice Department on February 6, 2018, but it did not contain any information about who was being investigated or why, the company said. Apple also said that determining who owned the targeted accounts would have required extensive research.
Apple said it limited the information provided to metadata and account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or images. While Apple says it would normally have informed customers, a nondisclosure order prevented it from doing so in this case, the company said.
The nondisclosure order has been extended three times, each time for one year, Apple said. When it was not extended for the fourth time, Apple said it notified affected customers on May 5, 2021.
“In this case, the subpoena, which was issued by a federal grand jury and included a non-disclosure order signed by a federal judge, provided no information about the nature of the investigation and it would have been virtually impossible. for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging into user accounts, ”Apple said in the statement. “As per request, Apple has limited the information provided to account subscriber information and has not provided any content such as emails or images.”
The summons was signed by prosecutor Jocelyn Valentine and authorized by investigating judge Deborah Robinson of the Washington federal court, the source close to the request said.
The company also says it believes similar requests have been sent to other tech companies and internet service providers.
Microsoft received subpoena for congressman
Microsoft received a subpoena in 2017 regarding a congressman’s personal email account, the company announced Friday evening.
As with the subpoena sent to Apple, Microsoft was subject to a gag order, a company spokesperson said. The gag order had been in effect for over two years.
After Microsoft notified the account holder of the summons, that person contacted Microsoft to advise them of their status as a member of Congress, Microsoft said.
“In 2017, Microsoft received a subpoena related to a personal email account,” the statement said. “As we have said before, we believe that customers have a constitutional right to know when the government requests their email or documents, and we have the right to tell them. In this case, we have been barred from doing so. ‘Inform the client for more than two years due to a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we informed the client who told us he was a congressional staff member. then briefed the representative’s staff on this advice We will continue to aggressively seek reform that imposes reasonable limits on government secrecy in cases like this.