Microsoft today revealed the number of data requests it received from various law enforcement agencies around the world in the second half of 2013: 35,083. Those requests impacted a potential 58,676 accounts, according to the company.

The new numbers for the second half of last year are slightly lower than those for the first half (37,196 requests affecting 66,539 accounts). With both halves of 2013, we can now compare the full year to all of 2012, which Microsoft’s first report covered.

Microsoft previously revealed it received 75,378 requests in 2012 that impacted a potential 137,424 accounts. Basic addition tells us Microsoft received fewer requests impacting potentially fewer accounts in 2013: 72,999 and 125,215, respectively.

This isn’t a large enough drop that we can applaud, and Microsoft notes as much: “Overall, the data in this latest Law Enforcement Requests Report shared today is largely consistent with prior reports.” Here are a few points shared for the second half of 2013:

  • Approximately 76 percent of requests resulted in disclosure of only “non-content data.” In 21 percent of all requests, no data at all was disclosed.
  • Only a small number of requests, 2.32 percent, resulted in disclosure of customer content data. Most of these requests – more than 80 percent – were from US law enforcement agencies. This is in line with the first half of 2013 and all of 2012.
  • A majority of the law enforcement demands received came from a handful of countries, led by the US, Turkey, Germany, France, and the UK.
  • Across Microsoft’s services, and out of hundreds of millions of accounts, only a fraction of accounts are affected – less than 0.01 percent.
  • Microsoft received only three legal orders for data associated with use of its commercial services by its enterprise customers (i.e., those with more than 50 seats), seeking information about 15 accounts. The company disclosed information in response to all three of those requests.

Microsoft once again pointed out that because it receives government demands for customer data from a large number of countries around the world, there is a need for an international convention that is “grounded in human rights commitments.”

Law Enforcement Requests Report

Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble