Microsoft updated its reports on the number of government requests for customer data the company has received, and the numbers show that things haven’t changed much for the company when it comes to law enforcement and intelligence agencies asking for information.
During the first half of 2014, Microsoft received almost 35,000 requests from law enforcement agencies from around the world, with the vast majority of those requests coming from the U.S. That’s down slightly from more than 37,000 requests during the same period in 2013. The requests from the first half of this year affected more than 58,000 accounts.
Microsoft responded to 75 percent of those requests with subscriber or transactional data, without disclosing content. More than 16 percent of the requests dealt with data that could not be found, and Microsoft rejected almost 6 percent of the requests. Overall, the company disclosed content in response to 2.62 percent of those requests.
Microsoft’s report on the U.S. national security orders it received is, unsurprisingly, less clear. The company said that it received between 0 and 999 requests for content under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the period from July to December of last year. Those requests affected between 18,000 and 18,999 accounts. That’s an increase from 16,000 to 16,999 accounts affected in the same period during 2012.
In addition, the company received between 0 and 999 FISA requests for disclosure of non-content, which include pen register and trap and trace orders, as well as “business records” requests made under Section 215 of FISA during the same period last year. Finally, the company also received 0-999 National Security Letters in the first half of 2014, which only request transactional data like phone numbers dialed.
Those ranges are larger than some others reported (Apple said it received 0-249 national security orders affecting 0-249 accounts in the first half of 2014), in part because the U.S. government requires that companies disclose larger ranges if they want to break out the types of orders that they receive. Of course, Microsoft has also disclosed that whatever orders it did receive affected more accounts than any of the ones received by Apple.
Microsoft’s disclosure comes alongside another call by the company for greater reform of the U.S. government’s powers of digital surveillance. Microsoft has thrown its weight behind reforming existing laws and pushing forward more legislation that will provide greater consumer protection. In addition, the company is currently fighting a court order demanding e-mail from a data center in Ireland.