World-wide law enforcement agencies requested information regarding 137,424 Microsoft and Skype accounts in 2012 based 75,378 requests for customer information. Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith blogged that the Microsoft’s first Law Enforcement Report includes customer requests for:
Skype, Hotmail, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Account, and Office 365.
In an effort of transparency the Report disclosed that approximately 79.8% of requests to Microsoft resulted in the disclosure of only non-content information and Microsoft requires “…a valid subpoena or equivalent document before we will consider releasing non-content data…” Microsoft describes non-content data as:
…basic subscriber information, such as the e-mail address, name, location and IP address captured at the time of registration.
Otherwise Microsoft reported that “only 2.1 percent, or 1,558 requests, resulted in the disclosure of customer content. Microsoft defined customer content as:
…what our customers create, communicate, and store on or through our services such as the words in an e-mail exchanged between friends or business colleagues or the photographs and documents stored on SkyDrive or in other cloud offerings such as O365 and Azure. We require an order or warrant from law enforcement before we will consider disclosing content to law enforcement.
So it seems that the privacy laws are doing a lot to protect Internet users, and it will be interesting to see if reports from other Internet companies regarding how they react to requests from law enforcement agencies.