Apple is developing an online tool for police to request data

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Apple is looking to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to request user data and is working on an online tool to help facilitate this.

A letter seen by Reuters shows that Apple is not only developing a data request tool, but also planning to train police about the data that it can and cannot provide. A new online system will make it easier and quicker to track data requests, and would be far more efficient than the current method of communication -- email.

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The letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and signed by Apple General Counsel Kate Adams, outlines the company's plans for the online tool. Apple uses the missive to draw attention to the help it already offers law enforcement agencies, pointing out that it has responded to 14,000 requests for data. This number includes 231 "domestic emergency requests" which were mostly dealt with within 20 minutes of receipt "regardless of the time of day or night", Reuters reports.

The online data request tool should be ready by the end of the year, Apple says in its letter. The company's training of law enforcement officers will also be taken online -- rather than at Apple's headquarters -- making it possible to reach a larger number of people around the world.

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