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Microsoft says law enforcement requests for customer data declined

Microsoft says law enforcement requests for customer data declined

Twice a year, the tech giant Microsoft reports on the data requests it receives from law enforcement around the world. The latest report, as reported in the company blog often used by its in-house legal staff, shows a slight decline in requests for customer data, while requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are up. The requests in this latest report cover those made from July to December 2018.

According to the company, “When Microsoft receives a law enforcement request – from any government – we review the request to ensure it is consistent with controlling law and our Microsoft principles. We disclose customer data only in response to a legally valid warrant, order or subpoena and only after we confirm the request specifies specific accounts or individual identifiers. We object to improper legal demands — even through litigation when necessary.”

Some specifics:

  • During the second half of 2018, Microsoft received a total number of 21,433 legal requests related to our consumer services from law enforcement agencies around the world, which is a decrease from the previous six-month period of 23,222 legal requests. A majority of the law enforcement demands Microsoft received during this period continued to come from a handful of countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Specific to Unites States law enforcement, Microsoft received 4,369 legal demands for data related to our consumer services. A fraction of those demands, 103 court issued warrants, sought content data stored in data centers outside of the United States.
  • In the second half of 2018, Microsoft received 61 requests from law enforcement around the world for data associated with enterprise cloud customers (customers who purchased more than 50 seats). Of these requests, 36 were from U.S. law enforcement and 25 were from other countries.
  • For the latest Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data reported, the company cannot report specific numbers. It says that it received 0-499 FISA orders seeking content disclosures affecting 13,000-13,499 accounts, an increase from the previous period of 12,500—12,999.  It received 0-499 National Security Letters in the latest reporting period, unchanged from the previous period.

[Photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella courtesy Microsoft]



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