每日英語跟讀 Ep.K211: Tech Giants Are Plunged Into Political Firestorm
On Feb. 6, 2018, Apple received a grand jury subpoena for the names and phone records connected to 109 email addresses and phone numbers. It was one of the more than 250 data requests that the company received on average from U.S. law enforcement each week at the time. An Apple paralegal complied and provided the information.
This year, a gag order on the subpoena expired. Apple said it alerted the people who were the subjects of the subpoena, just as it does with dozens of customers each day. But this request was out of the ordinary.
Without knowing it, Apple said, it had handed over the data of congressional staffers, their families and at least two members of Congress, including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., then the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking member and now its chair. It turned out the subpoena was part of a wide-ranging investigation by the Trump administration into leaks of classified information.
The revelations have now plunged Apple into the middle of a firestorm over the Trump administration’s efforts to find the sources of news stories, and the handling underscores the flood of law enforcement requests that tech companies increasingly contend with. The number of these requests has soared in recent years to thousands a week, putting Apple and other tech giants like Google and Microsoft in an uncomfortable position between law enforcement, the courts and the customers whose privacy they have promised to protect.
The companies regularly comply with the requests because they are legally required to do so. The subpoenas can be vague, so Apple, Google and others are often unclear on the nature or subject of an investigation. They can challenge some of subpoenas if they are too broad or if they relate to a corporate client. In the first six months of 2020, Apple challenged 238 demands from the government for its customers’ account data, or 4% of such requests.
As part of the same leak investigation by the Trump administration, Google fought a gag order this year on a subpoena to turn over data on the emails of four New York Times reporters. Google argued that its contract as The Times’ corporate email provider required it to inform the newspaper of any government requests for its emails, said Ted Boutrous, an outside lawyer for The Times.
But more frequently than not, the companies comply with law enforcement demands. And that underlines an awkward truth: As their products become more central to people’s lives, the world’s largest tech companies have become surveillance intermediaries and crucial partners to authorities.
但是，這些公司多半會順從執法單位命令，而這凸顯一個棘手事實：隨著他們的產品逐漸成為人們生活中心，這些世界最大科技公司已成為當局的偵察工具和關鍵夥伴。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5560507