Microsoft releases transparency reports for the second half of 2016

Following Reddit, Microsoft has now released its biannual transparency reports spanning from July to December of 2016. The reports consist of the Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report, and Content Removal Requests Report.

The Law Enforcement Requests Report (LERR) and the U.S. National Security Orders Report findings list:

  • 25,837 legal requests for customer information from law enforcement agencies, which brings the total number of requests from law enforcement agencies for 2016 to 61,409, down from 74,311 in 2015.
  • Requests from the law enforcement agencies of the U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Germany made up 71% of requests.
  • Microsoft received 1,000-1,499 FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) orders seeking content disclosures affecting 12,000-12,499 accounts (this latest data applies specifically to the period from January to June 2016) , compared to the 0-499 FISA orders seeking disclosure of content impacting 17,500-17,999 accounts reported for the previous six-month period. National Security Letters remained unchanged at 0-499 for the period.

Content Removal Requests Report entails requests from governments, copyright holders and individuals to remove content, subject to the European Union’s “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling. This also concerns victims of non-consensual pornography.

  • Chinese, French and the UK governments led the government requests for content removal with 418, 121 and 145 requests respectively, for the second half of 2016. Most of their requests were accepted with acceptance rate averaging at 84%.
  • The company also received over four million copyright removal requests consisting of 165,601,360 URLs, 99.81% of which were accepted.
  • France and the UK made up for more than half of the 4,474 "Right to be Forgotten" requests in the EU, bringing the total number of requests from May 2014 (when the right was originally introduced)-December 2016 to 18,101 covering over 51,000 URLS, 37% of which were accepted.
  • 298 of the 580 requests for removal of non-consensual pornography were accepted.

The company also took this opportunity to bring its case against the US government's "abuse" of the National Security Letters to notice. The firm was awarded a win by the US court of Appeals in its case against the government.

Source: Microsoft | Microsoft building Image via Shutterstock

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