Following in the footsteps of Google, Verizon has announced that it will be publishing transparency reports that highlight how often the government is asking for information on users. The company expects to publish an initial report in early 2014 and to update this report semi-annually. The plan also follows an earlier announcement from Microsoft which said that company would challenge government requests for information in court. In all, it seems Big IT is starting to bristle at spying.
Earlier this week the White House released its review of NSA spying programs, and had some harsh words for the agency although many view the report as disingenuous. The real question will be how far the government goes to reign the agency in. Efforts like that from Verizon, Microsoft, Google and other Big IT companies make the business case for greater privacy.
According to Verizon, to the extent permitted by applicable U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, Verizon’s transparency report will identify the total number of law enforcement agency requests received from government authorities in criminal cases. In addition, the report will break out this data under categories such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants.
Verizon will also provide other details about the legal demands it receives, as well as information about requests for information in emergencies. Verizon is working with the U.S. government regarding the detail the company can report on the number of National Security Letters it received last year.
“In the past year, there has been greater focus than ever on the use of legal demands by governments around the world to obtain customer data. Like others in the industry, the aim of our transparency report is to keep our customers informed about government requests for their data and how we respond to those requests. Verizon calls on governments around the world to provide more information on the types and amounts of data they collect and the legal processes that apply when they do so,” Randal S. Milch, executive vice president, public policy, and general counsel – Verizon said in a statement.