FISA requests on par with previous reporting period, says Microsoft in latest transparency report

Arif Bacchus

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Microsoft today released their most recent biannual transparency reports on the Microsoft Transparency Hub. The reports which cover the Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report and Content Removal Requests Reports show that Law enforcement and FISA requests are on par with previous reporting periods.

Overall, the reports cover July to December 2016. According to Microsoft, the latest Content Removal Requests Report also details requests to remove content from governments, copyright holders and individuals subject to the European Union’s “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling. The company has also disclosed a National Security Letter (NSL) which was received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2014, that sought data belonging to a customer of the company’s consumer services. A few highlights, which were all selected by Microsoft, from the latest transparency report can be seen below.

  • During the latter half of 2016, Microsoft received a total number of 25,837 legal requests for customer information from law enforcement agencies. This brings the total number of requests from law enforcement for 2016 to 61,409, which is a decrease from 2015, when requests totaled 74,311.
  • A majority (71 percent) of the law enforcement demands Microsoft received during this period continued to come from a handful of countries, led by the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Germany.
  • For the latest Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data reported (which is January – June 2016), Microsoft received 0-499 FISA orders seeking content disclosures affecting 12,000-12,499 accounts, compared to the 0-499 FISA orders seeking disclosure of content impacting 17,500-17,999 accounts reported for the previous period. We received 0-499 National Security Letters in the latest reporting period, which remains unchanged from the previous period.

Microsoft continues to believe that “transparency is essential to accountability and building trust in technology.” The company notes that they are “committed to upholding these principles in our practices and our reporting,” and invites you to visit this website to learn more about the transparency efforts.