Microsoft releases transparency report for second half of 2016

Microsoft has released the latest of its biannual transparency reports, giving us a look at things like government requests for data over the final six months of 2016. In all, Microsoft says it fielded 25,837 legal requests from law enforcement agencies from July through December, with the U.S., UK, France and Germany leading the pack.

Here's a look at the highlights of the report:

  • During the latter half of 2016, Microsoft received a total number of 25,837 legal requests for customer information from law enforcement agencies. This brings the total number of requests from law enforcement for 2016 to 61,409, which is a decrease from 2015, when requests totaled 74,311.
  • A majority (71 percent) of the law enforcement demands Microsoft received during this period continued to come from a handful of countries, led by the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Germany.
  • For the latest Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data reported, Microsoft received 1,000-1,499 FISA orders seeking content disclosures affecting 12,000-12,499 accounts, compared to the 0-499 FISA orders seeking disclosure of content impacting 17,500-17,999 accounts reported for the previous period. We received 0-499 National Security Letters in the latest reporting period, which remains unchanged from the previous period.

Interestingly, as part of its report, Microsoft also revealed the contents of a National Security Letter{.nofollow} it received from the FBI in 2014. The letter was included in aggregate data of an earlier report, but a gag order prevented Microsoft from disclosing it. However, reforms to the USA Freedom Act requiring the FBI to review previous non-disclosure orders have led to public disclosure from Microsoft and other tech companies.

If you're curious, you can check out the full contents of the latest transparency report now.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl