Secret recordings of a surveillance firm's presentation show how much iCloud data Apple surrenders to law enforcement with a warrant.
PenLink is a little-known firm from Nebraska which earns $20 million annually from helping the US government track criminal suspects. PenLink also sells its services to local law enforcement -- and it's from such a sales presentation that details of iCloud warrants has emerged.
According to Forbes, Jack Poulson of the Tech Inquiry watchdog attended the National Sheriff's Association winter conference. While there, he secretly recorded the event.
During the presentation, PenLink's Scott Tuma described how the company works with law enforcement to track users through multiple services, including the "phenomenal" Apple with iCloud.
Apple is open about what it does in the event of a subpoena from law enforcement. It says it will not unlock iPhones, but it will surrender information from iCloud backups that are stored on its servers.
Tuma said that if someone did something bad it would almost certainly be on that backup.
As for location tracking, Tuma said it is possible to find people's locations through different services, although not through iCloud.
“Google can get me within three feet of a precise location. I cannot tell you how many cold cases I've helped work on where this is five, six, seven years old and people need to put the suspect at a hit-and-run or it was a sexual assault that took place."
It's also possible for law enforcement and firms like PenLink which help them, to get location data from Facebook and Snapchat.