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Microsoft publishes Law Enforcement Requests Report, cites 70,665 inquiries worldwide

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Microsoft is the latest company striving to be more transparent in detailing how much user data it provides to law enforcement. Today it released the 2012 Law Enforcement Request, marking the first time Microsoft has ever revealed such statistics in an easily accessible document. "All of our major online services are covered in this report," writes Brad Smith, the company's VP of legal and corporate affairs. "In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests." Smith openly credits Google and Twitter for leading the trend, saying Microsoft has "benefitted from the opportunity to learn from them."

In all, Microsoft received 70,665 law enforcement requests across its services. Those requests affected a potential 122,015 user accounts. Skype is treated separately from other offerings, but the company is also providing those numbers: it saw 4,713 requests for Skype data, impacting 15,409 accounts or what Microsoft calls "other identifiers." Microsoft says it provided Skype IDs, names, email accounts, and billing info to authorities. The company is quick to point out that less than two one-hundredths of one percent (or 0.02 percent) of all users were "potentially affected" by law enforcement requests. For Microsoft's services, the United States, UK, Turkey, Germany and France issued the most requests. The top five ranking for Skype looks similar: UK, US. Germany, France and Taiwan accounted for the vast majority of inquiries. For those interested in the full breakdown, the 2012 report can be found here.