With all the cases of government snooping and outright requests for user information, not to mention the leaks that have let the cat out of the bag, companies seem to have engaged in a quest to show transparency. Microsoft is one of those who is rather vocal about law enforcement requests, and this week, it released its Law Enforcement Requests Report, which covers July to December of 2013.
Law enforcement requests cannot be ignored, and when they are served, a company has to have its own response policy. In Microsoft’s case, their principles are:
- We require a valid subpoena or legal equivalent before we consider releasing a customer’s non-content data to law enforcement;
- We require a court order or warrant before we consider releasing a customer’s content data;
- In each instance, we carefully examine the requests we receive for a customer’s information to make sure they are in accord with the laws, rules and procedures that apply.
So, aren’t you curious about the latest Law Enforcement Requests Report?
In brief, the highlights are:
- There were about 35,083 requests from law enforcement agencies; these requests potentially affected 58,676 accounts.
- Approximately 76 percent of the requests resulted in disclosure of only “non-content data.” No data was disclosed at all in 21 percent of the requests.
- 2.32 percent of the requests resulted in disclosure of customer content data. Most of these requests – more than 80 percent – were from United States law enforcement agencies. Surprised?
- The US is not the only country which demand user information. There’s Turkey, Germany, France and the United Kingdom – the leading ones.
They’re just numbers, of course, but the efforts of Microsoft to achieve transparency in this regard are to be lauded at least. If you’re a privacy advocate, and you are vigilant about these things, then you’ll be happy to know that at least one major tech player is merely handing out your information to law enforcement agencies.