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September 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Microsoft releases second report on law enforcement requests

Microsoft today released its second report on the numbers of requests and orders it receives from law enforcement agencies.

The information, as with the first report, presents very broad figures on how many requests it received from law enforcement agencies worldwide and how Microsoft responded to them.

And, as with the first report it released in March, there is no  information on the number of national security orders received, if any, since  the company is forbidden by the U.S. government to disclose that.

(Microsoft had released in June, after having received approval by the U.S. government to do so, aggregate figures that combined national security orders and law enforcement requests for the second half of 2012. Microsoft had not been permitted to release the number of FISA orders it may have received, separate from the combined figures.)

Microsoft, along with other large tech companies, have come under fire for their role in U.S. national security surveillance. In response, the companies are seeking to clarify to the public how many such security orders they receive and something about the nature of those orders.

Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Yahoo have petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to be more transparent about the number of orders it gets under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as well as something about the nature of those orders, and how many accounts those orders affect.

The companies are continuing to press their case after negotiations with the U.S. government to allow such disclosures failed in August.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Law Enforcements Requests Report for the first half of 2013 shows, among other things, that:

  • Microsoft (including Skype) received 37,196 requests from law enforcement agencies potentially affecting 66,539 accounts in the first six months of this year. (For the full year 2012, Microsoft received 75,378 requests potentially affecting 137,424  accounts.
  • About 77 percent of those requests resulted the disclosure of “non-content data, “such as the user’s name, billing address or IP history.
  • No data was disclosed in nearly 21 percent of requests.
  • About 2.19 percent of requests resulted in disclosure of content data. “Content data” could include a user’s photos stored in SkyDrive, the subject or body of an email, address book information or calendar information. 92 percent of the requests that resulted in such content data disclosure came from U.S. agencies.
  • Most of the requests came from law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Turkey, Germany, the U.K. and France.

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: fisa, law enforcement requests report, nsa


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