Friday, March 15, 2019
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Microsoft Releases Government Requests for User data

US Government has agreed to allow technology companies to publish data about FISA orders.

“While there remain some constraints on what we can publish, we are now able to present a comprehensive picture of the types of requests that we receive from the U.S. Government pursuant to national security authorities,”  Brad Smith General Counsel & Executive Vp, Legal & Corporate Matters at Microsoft, published in a blog post Monday.

Smith declared Microsoft was now allowed to publish info about the amount of FISA requests they have acquired, combined with the amount of accounts or any other identifiers the government wanted details about.  Based on government rules, information about FISA requests must revealed in bands of a thousand, beginning from the band from 0-999, and can only be published 6 months following the end of a reporting period.

Smith stated that from January 2013 through June 2013, Microsoft acquired less than 1,000 FISA orders seeking the disclosure of customer information.

“These orders related to between 15,000 and 15,999 accounts or individual identifiers,” he explained. “It’s important to note that this does not necessarily mean that more than 15,000 people were covered by these data requests. This is because one individual may have multiple accounts, each of which would be counted separately for the purposes of reporting this data.”

While our customers number hundreds of millions, the accounts affected by these orders barely reach into the tens of thousands,” Smith said. “This obviously means that only a fraction of a percent of our users are affected by these orders. In short, this means that we have not received the type of bulk data requests that are commonly discussed publicly regarding telephone records. This is a point we’ve publicly been making in a generalized way since last summer, and it’s good finally to have the ability to share concrete data.”

Smith additionally outlined how the elevated transparency permitted by the US government does absolutely nothing to reduce the efforts put forth by the governments to acquire customer details outside the legal process.

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