Microsoft Law Enforcement: Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is joining the ranks of the many companies that publish “transparency reports.” The New York Times is reporting that the company recently “disclosed for the first time on Thursday the number of requests it had received from government law enforcement agencies for data on its hundreds of millions of customers around the world.”
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The company plans to update its report every six months, ensuring that the most recent data is available to the public.
According to the same New York Times article, the first report shows that five countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Turkey and the United, “accounted for 69 percent of the 70,665 requests the company received last year.”
At this point, you may be a bit confused as to what this report is all about in terms of the information being supplied. Here is what Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) had to say about this:
“This data covers law enforcement requests and/or court orders Microsoft received in calendar year 2012 related to our online and cloud services – including, for example, Hotmail/Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Account, Messenger and Office 365. Skype data is included, but reported separately, since prior to being acquired by Microsoft in late 2011, Skype collected data in a different format and because Skype continues to operate under Luxembourg law. Skype reporting policies and practices have now been brought in line with Microsoft reporting policies and going forward all data will be provided in a consistent format.”
As you begin to work your way through the report, you will find that both Microsoft and Skype received a total of 75,378 law enforcement requests. What exactly does this mean? In short, approximately 137,424 accounts were impacted.
The report goes on to talk more about the disclosure of customer data:
“While it is not possible to directly compare the number of requests to the number of users affected, it is likely that less than 0.02% of active users were affected. The data shows that, after a careful review of each request by our compliance teams, 18% of law enforcement requests to Microsoft resulted in the disclosure of no customer data. Approximately 79.8% of requests to Microsoft resulted in the disclosure of only non-content information, and only a small number of law enforcement requests (2.2%) resulted in the disclosure of customer content.”
As noted above, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is following in the footsteps of other companies, such as Google, the first big web company to report the number of legal requests received.
Check back here for more updates on Microsoft Law Enforcement.
DISCLOSURE: I have no positions in any stock mentioned.
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