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Microsoft Releases Details Of Law Enforcement Requests

from the good-move dept

Kudos to Microsoft for joining companies like Google and Twitter in releasing transparency reports about government/law enforcement requests for information. On Thursday, Microsoft released data on law enforcement requests from 2012. The report covers requests for pretty much all of Microsoft's key online services, including Hotmail/Outlook, SkyDrive, XBox Live, Office 365 and even Skype. Microsoft has actually gone a step further than others in some areas, such as separating out which law enforcement requests involved sharing "customer content" data (such as images or email subject lines) vs. those that shared "non-content" data (such as identifying information).

Because of this distinction, Microsoft points out how rarely it ends up giving law enforcement customer content, noting it happened in only 2.1% of cases (1,558 requests). Nearly all of those requests came from the US government. The only non-US requests that resulted in the sharing of customer content were 14 disclosures given to Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

As for non-content information (i.e., identifying info), Microsoft disclosed that information 56,388 times (excluding Skype, which reported its data separately due to differences in the way they recorded data -- something that is being standardized). The top countries getting such info were the US, UK, Turkey, Germany and France. Turkey seems a bit surprising there. As for Skype, the top requests were from the UK, US, Germany, France and Taiwan. Microsoft also delivered no information at all 18% of the time, either because the company rejected the request or because no info was found, though they apparently don't break down the difference there.

Like Google, Microsoft also revealed how many National Security Letters it received, using a format nearly identical to the way Google released its data not too long ago:
It's good to see Microsoft following in the footsteps of Google and Twitter in providing this kind of transparency. Hopefully we'll see even more companies follow as well.
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Filed Under: information requests, nsls, privacy, transparency
Companies: microsoft, skype


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    out_of_the_blue, 22 Mar 2013 @ 4:34pm

    Mike, you're making Google jealous

    You need to get Google, Twitter and Microsoft into a wrestling match. We'll fill the pool with chocolate pudding...DELISH!

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