Following U.S. Senator Ron Wyden revealing that governments can secretly force Apple and Google to hand over the contents of push notifications sent to customers’ phones, Apple has said it’s changed its policy and will no longer do so without a valid judge’s order. This will be either a court order or a search warrant.
Push notifications are the pop-up messages that are sent to phones to alert users to new messages, news, and app-based updates. However, since these notifications are routed through Apple and Google servers, Apple and Google can disclose them to governments as part of surveillance about how people are using certain apps.
Apple’s policy change was made to a passage in its guidelines without an official statement although Google issued a statement saying it had always required judicial approval to hand over this kind of information.