Apple releases its latest transparency report: Shares the takedown requests from government

Apple today released its newest transparent report where they revealed all the requests received from the government in the second half of 2018. The Apple Company added a new section that included all the requests from the government worldwide that have asked them to remove a specific app from their App Store.

The PDF of the transparency report is available on Apple’s official website, but here are the highlights of the report.

According to Apple, they received a total of 80 legal violation take-down requests from 11 countries to remove around 634 apps from their App Stores. Although the company did not offer complete details of the apps that were asked to be removed, requests from China made up the majority of the requests.

In fact, China requested the removal of 626 apps from which the tech giant pulled 526. Apple also removed some numbers of apps after receiving requests from Austria, Lebanon, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam, Kuwait, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Apple Transparency Report: Government and Private Party Requests

As per the reports, Apple claims that the majority of apps reported by China were largely linked with illegal gambling or pornography. Some other reasons for requesting ‘pull down’ included copyright infringement, unlicensed gaming, violations of privacy law, and violations of local transport law.

Apple also claimed to receive 29,183 requests from worldwide government organizations for 213,737 devices. Apple also says that in the U.S., the highest number of devices specified for the requests of data was a result of stolen device and fraud investigation. Similar incidence and report requests were received from Germany, Russia, South Korea, and Poland as well.


Requests for financial ‘reasons’ were also suggested from Canada, Spain, Germany and the U.S. These were mainly investigated due to iTunes gift card and credit card frauds.

From the United States, Apple claims to receive between 3 and 499 National Security Letters for accounts ranging between 1,505 and 1,999 accounts.

Three of the letters received by the National Security are no longer subjected to non-disclosure orders and thus published by the company for the first time. The tech giant also published two other NSLs that was issued earlier in 2018 and 2015. Here, it should be noted that these letters are issued by the FBI who forbid Apple or any other company to disclose them until allowed.

In its next report, Apple plans to begin reporting on appeals received in response to government’s app removal requests from the App Store.

The full report can be accessed from Apple’s official website.

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