Microsoft posts its first Law Enforcement Requests Report, shows US-centric scrutiny
Civil liberty advocates have had access to Google’s Transparency Report and a handful of equivalents to understand just how frequently governments want our data. But what if we spend most of our time in Outlook.com, Skype or Xbox Live? Microsoft wants to show that it’s equally concerned, and it’s accordingly publishing its first-ever Law Enforcement Requests Report to reveal just how much attention the police gave to our information in 2012. The gist? While there were 75,378 international requests, 99 percent of the 1,558 actual content disclosures went straight to American agencies — thankfully, with court warrants. Microsoft did get its fair share of FBI National Security Letter requests, although those may be short-lived. Different Microsoft services also received different levels of attention: Skype handed over certain account details but no actual content, while enterprise users were virtually untouched from Microsoft’s position. The company plans to keep publishing these reports in the future, which should give us a better long-term sense of just how we’re put under the microscope.