Following the footsteps of Facebook, Microsoft becomes the second company to release government data request numbers.

Microsoft NSA PRISM Microsoft releases government data request numbers following the path taken by Facebook

Just like Facebook did earlier today, Microsoft is coming clean (at least a little bit clean) on the number of data requests made by the US government entities to the company for a duration of 6 months (up to 31st December, 2012). Here are the numbers in bullet for your reading benefit:

  • 6,000 to 7,000 Government Data Requests
  • Affecting between 31,000 to 32,000 Consumer Accounts

Microsoft stated that “the FBI and DOJ have given us permission to publish some additional data,” but that the company is only “permitted to include the total volume of national security orders, which may include FISA orders” in what it discloses.  Simply reading between the lines, the data released by Microsoft is only a portion of the actual numbers, but some data is better than no data.

NSA US Microsoft releases government data request numbers following the path taken by Facebook

Here’s Microsoft’s report:

For the six months ended December 31, 2012, Microsoft received  between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal). This only impacts a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base.

The company doesn’t fail to mention that the government activities affects a tiny portion of Microsoft’s customer base, but we wouldn’t take the company’s word just like that. Both Facebook and Microsoft aren’t reporting the complete picture, and that is hardly a coincidence. While both companies have taken steps to release government sensitive data, we are a long way from complete transparency. Nevertheless, we are happy that the process has at least begun, and hopefully will spur other companies (like Twitter) to follow suit. Until then, keep an eye out for your back (and ass).

Source: Microsoft via Reuters