For the first time, Microsoft Thursday disclosed the number of request it received from government law enforcement agencies for data on its millions of users around the globe.
Last year the tech giant had received 70,665 requests, 69 percent of those request came from the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Turkey.
"In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests," Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft wrote in a blog post.
"Google, Twitter and others have made important and helpful contributions to this discussion by publishing some of their data. We've benefited from the opportunity to learn from them and their experience, and we seek to build further on the industry's commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today," he wrote.
The report says, for 80 percent of requests, the company has provided non-content data such as account holder's name, sex, e-mail id, IP address, country of residence and dates or time of data traffic. While for 2.1 percent of requests, Microsoft has shared the actual content of communications like the subject of e-mail, contents of e-mail or picture stored on its cloud storage service, SkyDrive.
Microsoft also said it has disclosed the content of communications in 1544 cases to the government law enforcement in Canada as well as in the U.S. while in 14 cases to agencies in Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.
Like Google, Microsoft has also received National Security Letters (NSL) from the FBI as part of terrorism investigations. The FBI has issued National Security Letters for Microsoft, to obtain "the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records" of Microsoft users if it is "relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."
In 2009 and 2012, Microsoft received upto 999 requests for NSL, while in 2010 and 2011 the company received between 1000 to 1999 requests.
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