Apple has limited the scope of legal demands in light of a political dusting. The company told Reuters that it recently capped requests at 25 IDs each after the Trump-era Justice Department called Apple to appear for information on at least two House Democrats. the New York Times reported that the DOJ targeted Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, along with their assistants and family members, in a 2018 attempt to find the sources behind the stories of Trump associates contacting Russia.
The requests were flowing. Apple said a February 2018 subpoena requested 109 IDs, including 73 phone numbers and other email addresses. The tech company pointed out that it never provided any emails or images and that it did not provide the time or recipients of the messages. Apple added that it could not determine the nature of the investigation from the request.
The current Justice Department has vowed to investigate subpoenas and other requests to see if the Trump DOJ has abused its powers.
It’s unclear how the US government will react to a cap on credentials. However, the revelations could fuel tech companies calls for more transparency at the request of the government. It can sometimes be difficult to tell when officials are abusing their authority. In theory, greater transparency would allow violations to be detected earlier and hold governments to account.
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