Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Thursday disclosed in its transparency report that the company received more than 11,000 requests for user information or content data from law enforcement agencies in the United States last year.
Joining the ranks of Google, Twitter and other Web businesses in publishing regular transparency reports, Microsoft plans to update its transparency report every six months.
“we seek to build further on the industry’s commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today.” said Microsoft’s executive vice president and the company’s general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post
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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) officials said the company received 70,665 law enforcement requests, affecting 122,015 user accounts, in year 2012. The company disclosed in 1588 of those cases in 56,388 cases the company only disclosed transactional or account information. For 2012, Skype received 4,713 requests for data or information and didn’t disclose content in any of those cases.
“Microsoft’s mission is to help people and businesses across the globe realize their full potential, and all of our technologies are designed to further that mission. We place a premium on respecting and protecting the privacy of our users, and work to earn their trust every day. At the same time, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recognizes that law enforcement plays a critically important role in keeping our users – and our technology – safe and free from abuse or exploitation. We are hopeful that this data disclosure can better inform all sides in the critically important public discussion about how best to strike the balance between the privacy of our customers and the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies that protect and serve their citizens,” the company said in its transparency report.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it disclosed the content of communications in 1,544 cases to U.S. law enforcement agencies, and in 14 cases to agents in Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.
“Government requests for online data are like the dark matter of the Internet,” said Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which has campaigned for greater disclosure.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has aligned itself with other giant email providers like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) that ask for warrant when a law-enforcement agency needs an access to user content.