Microsoft has decided to do something today it has never done before; it is revealing just how many requests it received for information about customer accounts from law enforcement authorities. The reveal comes in the form of Microsoft's first Law Enforcement Requests Report, which will apparently be released every six months from now on.
The report states that in 2012, the company received 75,378 law enforcement requests. That total included Microsoft's Skype division. Microsoft said the requests would have affected about 137,424 customer accounts. Microsoft added the number of requests impacted less than two one-hundredths of one percent of all of the accounts that are recorded by the company.
Microsoft said that 18 percent of the requests resulted in no information being given to law enforcement authorities, "either because Microsoft rejected the request or because no customer information was found." Microsoft did disclose what it called "non content information" for 79.8 percent of the law enforcement requests in 2012. Actual content disclosures were given to authorities for 1,558 requests, which comprised 2.2 percent of the total law enforcement requests.
In a blog post, Microsoft said that of that small number of accounts that did have content disclosed, over 99 percent were in response to what the company called "lawful warrants from courts in the United States." Only 14 account content disclosures were given outside the U.S. to the governments of Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.
The Skype division received 4,713 requests from law enforcement but did not disclose any content from those requests. Microsoft stated that it did provide non-content data, " .. such as a SkypeID, name, email account, billing information and call detail records if a user subscribed to the Skype In/Online service, which connects to a telephone number." Microsoft says that it requires a "court order or warrant before we will consider releasing a customer’s content to law enforcement."
Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft