Microsoft reports 37,000 legal requests in six months

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Microsoft said on Friday it received more than 37,000 government requests for information in the first half of 2013 - excluding any national security requests.

In only its second report on the matter, the United States (US) tech giant's figures appeared to be on pace with 2012, when it got 75,378 requests.

"The report details the number of requests for data we received from law enforcement agencies around the world, and how Microsoft responds to those requests. It covers requests for data relating to all of Microsoft's online and cloud services, including Skype," the company said on its website.

"Unfortunately, we are not currently permitted to report detailed information about the type and volume of any national security orders... that we may receive so any national security orders we may receive are not included in this report."

The report shows Microsoft received 37,196 requests from law enforcement agencies, potentially impacting 66,539 accounts in the first six months of 2013.

The company said it provided "non-content data" - usually names or basic subscriber information - in 77 per cent of requests, and nothing in some 21 per cent.

In 2.19 per cent of the cases, the company turned over "customer content", with more than 90 per cent of these in the US.

The report comes with US tech companies under pressure following revelations of a secret government programme which scoops up vast amounts of data from Internet firms.

Tech firms including Microsoft. Google and Facebook have been seeking to release more information on government data requests, in the belief that this would reassure customers.

In June, Microsoft said it received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from US government entities.

It said it was permitted to publish data on national security orders "only if aggregated with law enforcement requests from all other US local, state and federal law enforcement agencies" and reported in a range, without specific numbers.

In Friday's report, Microsoft said it received 7,014 requests from US law enforcement along with 978 for its Skype messaging division.

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