In an official company blog post, Microsoft has revealed that the company will be providing better transparency when it comes to US government requests for consumer data. Thanks to the NSA scandal, consumers are on edge about what kind of data is shared to the government. Microsoft hopes to make this as transparent as possible.
“As a result of that litigation and after lengthy discussions, the Government recently agreed for the first time to permit technology companies to publish data about FISA orders. While there remain some constraints on what we can publish (more details on that below), we are now able to present a comprehensive picture of the types of requests that we receive from the U.S. Government pursuant to national security authorities,” Microsoft stated in an official blog post.
For those that do not recall, Microsoft, along with other tech giants, filed a lawsuit against the US government claiming that technology companies have a constitutional right to publicly reveal in detail what the government wants to see – as necessary in order to be transparent.
“We contended that we should be able to disclose information about legal orders issued pursuant to U.S. national security laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which we had previously been barred from disclosing,” Microsoft explained.
The US government has agreed to these demands and is now allowing Microsoft to report this data in bands of a thousand. In other words, Microsoft will be publishing FISA data that covers a six month period, published six months after the end of a reporting period.
Between January and June 2013, Microsoft received fewer than 1,000 FISA orders seeking the disclosure of customer content. This meant over 15,000 accounts were identified in the order, but not necessarily 15,000 consumers as many consumers have multiple accounts. The company also received fewer than 1,000 FISA orders for non-content data only, seeking information that related to fewer than 1,000 accounts. The company also received fewer than 1,000 National Security Letters covering fewer than 1,000 accounts.
Microsoft would like to remind everyone that only a fraction of a percent of consumers are affected by these orders. You can read Microsoft’s full statement at the VIA link below.