Verizon has just released its first transparency report, detailing the number of demands for information made by law enforcement in the United States as well as countries abroad. Verizon has broken the report down into two sections: “U.S. Data” and “International Data.”
With all the U.S. demands tallied up, Verizon states that it received approximately 320,000 requests for information. Those are requests made at all levels of law enforcement, from the local level all the way up to federal. That larger number can be broken down into the following: approximately 164,000 subpoenas; 70,000 orders; 37,000 warrants; and 85,000 emergency requests.
According to Verizon, subpoenas are generally sent for the type of information that can be found on a subscriber’s phone bill. Orders can go a bit more in depth; they can be general, used to obtain the same types of info accessible through a subpoena, or they can go as deep as demanding a trace or a wiretap. Warrants are often used to go after “content or location information,” Verizon states. As far as emergency requests go, the company says, “We estimate that at least half of these requests – approximately 50,000 – were from law enforcement pursuant to the emergency procedures discussed above and the remainder were from PSAPs after receiving 9-1-1 calls from the public.”
In addition, Verizon states that it received between 1,000-2,000 national security letters from the government. Why such a large range? Because the U.S. government will not allow Verizon to provide a more specific number. These letters are used to gain access to information secretly, though President Obama stated in his NSA speech last Friday that the government would “amend” the way it used national security letters “so that this secrecy will not be indefinite, so that it will terminate within a fixed time unless the government demonstrates a real need for further secrecy.” Whatever that means.
Verizon’s “International Data” breakdown isn’t as detailed, but it does list the number of demands the company received from foreign nations.
- Australia: 29
- Austria: 8
- Belgium: 473
- France: 1,347
- Germany: 2,996
- Italy: 13
- Japan: 14
- Netherlands: 65
- Switzerland: 60
- Taiwan: 1
- UK: 386
We may see some reports from other carriers in the future. Stay tuned.