What data Apple does and doesn’t share with the cops by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine June 17, 2013, 11:41 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Source: NSA’s PRISM slide show. FORTUNE — Embarrassed to find itself on the list of companies from whose servers the National Security Agency claims to have been “directly” collecting data, Apple AAPL issued a public statement early Monday that it hoped would allay its customers’ concerns. Among the key points: The authorities asked for a ton of information: Between Dec. 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013 the company received 4,000 to 5,000 requests about 9,000 to 10,000 accounts and devices. The requests came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. Many of those requests, according to Apple, were benign. “The most common form,” it said, “comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.” Apple’s lawyers reviewed each request, provided “the narrowest possible set of information,” and from time to time rejected the requests outright. Apple does not provide the content of conversations that take place over iMessage and FaceTime because those are encrypted in a way that Apple says it can’t break. Whether the NSA can is left unanswered. Apple does not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in a way that can be traced back to the user. Again, whether the NSA could do that is not clear. By omission, Apple’s statement implies that the contents of e-mail, photographs, videos and other files stored on Apple’s servers are fair game. Note too that Apple received the government’s permission to release only “some of [the] data” related to law enforcement requests for information about its customers. Link: Apple’s commitment to customer privacy.