How Apple, Google, and Microsoft reacted to Trump-era DOJ subpoenas and requests for data on political rivals and journalists
Apple CEO Tim Cook with former President Donald Trump in 2019. Tom Brenner / Reuters
The Trump-era Justice Department requested data from Apple, Google, and Microsoft about its rivals.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data was searched, said Trump behaved like "the most hideous dictators."
This is how every company reacts to legal inquiries.
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During President Donald Trump's years in the White House, the Department of Justice requested information from tech companies about its Democratic rivals in Congress and the press.
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Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose dates were searched, said in a statement Friday: "Like many of the most despicable dictators in the world, former President Trump displayed utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law."
Some of the world's largest technology companies - including Google, Apple, and Microsoft - have received summons or other requests for information from accounts of the press, members of Congress, their employees, or their families.
Here's how each company responded to these legal requests:
An Apple spokesman said Friday the company had received grand jury summons for 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, according to TechCrunch's Zack Whittaker. Apple has "passed on account subscriber information and not provided any content such as e-mails or pictures".
The company provided metadata on Swalwell and Rep. Adam Schiff, according to statements from both politicians who were among Trump's political opponents.
Apple told CNBC on Friday that the grand jury subpoena included a gag order preventing Apple from notifying customers of the requests. The inquiries did not contain any information about the investigation, CNBC reported.
Swalwell said he was notified by Apple last month.
"In May, I was notified by Apple that my files belonged to those that were searched for by the Trump administration as part of a politically motivated investigation into its alleged enemies and handed over to them," he said on Friday.
The Trump administration DOJ searched Google email logs of four New York Times reporters. This request also came with a gag order, according to The Times. The newspaper reported that "no records were received".
Press secretary Jen Psaki said in a June 5 statement that the White House had not been made aware of the gag order.
"Although the White House does not intervene in a criminal investigation, issuing subpoenas on reporters' records of leakage investigations is inconsistent with the president's political direction to the department, and the Justice Department has reaffirmed that it will not be used in the future . " ," She said.
Lawyers for the newspaper have filed a request to unseal the Trump-era DOJ filings that preceded the data requests, the Times reported this week.
"These orders pose an exceptional challenge to press freedom and undermine the ability of the press to report truthful information of vital public interest," the newspaper's court record said.
According to several reports, Microsoft received a subpoena for a convention official's personal email account in 2017. The employee was not identified in the reports.
In a statement sent to The Daily Mail, a Microsoft spokesman said the company believes that "Customers have a constitutional right to know when the government is requesting their email or documents, and we have the right to tell them so." to be communicated ".
The spokesman added, "In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a toggle arrangement. As soon as the toggle arrangement expired, we notified the customer who told us he was a congress official."
Insider has asked Apple, Google and Microsoft for more information.
Schiff on Friday called for an investigation into the Trump-era Justice Department by the independent Inspector General, saying this was "just the beginning".
"We need a full account of the abuse of power by the Trump DOJ against Congress and the press," Schiff said on Twitter on Friday.
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