Verizon has released its first transparency report detailing how many times the government requested user data. Report data shows that federal, state, and local officials requested data 321,545 times over the last year.
Verizon first announced that it would be releasing the reports which are similar to transparencies reports published by Google and Amazon. Earlier this week, CivSource reported on a call from Microsoft to create an international convention on government access to data. Big IT companies are grappling with the impact of government spying on customer trust and global competitiveness, as the US government itself makes no effort to rein the programs in.
The Verizon report shows that 164,000 requests came from law enforcement subpoenas, followed by about 71,000 court orders. 1,500 wiretap requests were submitted as part of a broader group of requests — 7,800 — which asked for real time call data.
The company received about 3,200 warrants or court orders for “cell tower dumps” last year. In such instances, the warrant or court order compelled Verizon to identify the phone numbers of all phones that connected to a specific cell tower during a given period of time. Verizon says the number of warrants and orders for location information are increasing each year.
Verizon says it received between 1-2,000 National Security Letters, the government only allows the company to provide a broad range. Individual recipients of such letters are not allowed to know a letter has been issued even though information may be used against them.