The U.S. Justice Department is allowing tech firms to disclose a bit more detail about the number of national security orders and requests they receive, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests. Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement, saying: This action was directed…More
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Caspar Bowden, a former Microsoft chief privacy officer, said during a conference in Switzerland that he’s having a hard time trusting the company after news broke of the role that Microsoft and other tech companies played in the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance efforts.
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.More
Microsoft has filed an amended motion today saying that it has a First Amendment right to disclose aggregate data on the U.S. national intelligence surveillance orders it receives.
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.More
[This post has been updated to include the number of requests Microsoft received from the U.S. government in all of 2012, according to its previously released 2012 law enforcement requests report.]
Microsoft has released some more information on the national security and law enforcement requests and orders it received, following approval by the federal government to do so.
“For the first time, we are permitted to include the total volume of national security orders, which may include FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] orders, in this reporting,” John Frank, a Microsoft deputy general counsel, said in an official blog post. “We are still not permitted to confirm whether we have received any FISA orders, but if we were to have received any they would now be included in our aggregate volumes.”
For the six months running from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, Microsoft says it received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders from local, state and federal governments. Those orders affected between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts — a “tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base,” Frank wrote.
If there were any FISA orders or directives among those requests, it has been aggregated with all the others, as directed by the U.S. government, Frank said. The government also required that such totals be presented in tranches of 1,000.More
Microsoft this afternoon joined several other high-tech companies in urging the U.S. government to permit more transparency on some of the national security requests it makes of tech companies.
The move came after reports broke last week in The Guardian and The Washington Post about a U.S. government surveillance program code-named PRISM, which targets primarily foreigners. It allows the U.S. government access to user information from computer servers of Microsoft and eight other technology companies.
“Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including FISA orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues,” the company said in a statement.
Microsoft was referring to orders issued by the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The tech companies are not allowed to disclose the number or scope of FISA orders it gets, or even, according to The New York Times, to acknowledge that those orders exist.More