Apple reveals how often governments request App Store takedowns

The company received 80 app takedown requests for 770 applications in the second half of 2018.

Sponsored Links

Mariella Moon
July 3, 2019 4:30 AM
NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto via Getty Images

The latest transparency report from Cupertino comes with a couple of sections its previous ones didn't have -- ones that reveal how many takedown requests it received. Apparently, Apple received 80 App Store takedown requests for legal violations in the second half of 2018, from July to December. A total of 770 applications were specified in the requests, 626 of which came from the Chinese government. The vast majority of the apps China wanted to remove violate the country's illegal gambling and pornography laws.

Meanwhile, Russia sent in 10 requests specifying 11 apps and Norway sent in one requesting the removal of 37 apps related to illegal gambling investigations. Saudi Arabia also just sent Apple one request, but it called for the removal of 25 apps that reportedly violated its privacy law. In all, Apple granted 75 of the 80 requests and took down 634 applications.

In addition, as TechCrunch noted, Apple has published five of the National Security Letters -- administrative subpoena issued in the name of national security -- it received from the US government for the first time. The non-disclosure orders have lifted for all five, allowing the tech giant to reveal its contents. Apple has also divulged that it received 29,183 requests seeking the details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services in all. The highest number of device-based requests came from Germany (12,343), followed by the US (4,680).

TechCrunch says Apple promised to make its transparency reports even more comprehensive in the future. The next report due in mid-2020 will apparently include governments' response to app-removal demands from localized app stores, as well.

Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget
You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.
Not now

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
View All Comments
Apple reveals how often governments request App Store takedowns