Earlier this year, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden released information on the organization's "PRISM" program, which included participation from nine prominent American technology companies.
The likes of Apple, PalTalk, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, YouTube, Skype and Google are websites and programs a large population of people utilize everyday. When the Guardian released the story in June, many Americans were concerned about the spying program, but understood that the NSA did this to protect the nation from future terrorist attacks.
Since the list was revealed to the international community, some of these organizations have taken action to increase cyber security measures. For example, Google released the encrypted version of its website in October. This includes all information that is stored in GMail and Google Docs, according to Gizmodo. Now, Apple is speaking out, releasing information on governments that made data requests.
"We believe that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available," Apple's statement said.
For the first half of 2013, the United States government made between 1,000-2,000 requests that could have affected about 2,000-3,000 Apple users, the Telegraph reported. Apple kept these figures broad because the U.S. government does not allow the tech company disclose the specific number of national security orders—even though a majority of these requests were related to robberies.
"We strongly oppose this gag order, and Apple has made the case for relief from these restrictions in meetings and discussions with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders and the courts," the company added.
In order to provide personal information, Apple had to access a user's iCloud or iTunes account first. In some cases, the organization had to hand over a person's stored photos and email. Earlier this year, Apple and 63 other entities wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and asked for permission to publicize the number of government requests that have been made about their users.
Businesses that wish to confidently continue operations without concerns about the federal government reaching out to them may want to consider relocating. Canada specifically, may be the U.S.' neighbor, but does not believe that innovative organizations should have to work this way. Swift SMS Gateway is one of many companies that have found success working in Canada, while being able to extend services to American clients.