Verizon says feds made nearly 150,000 requests for customer data in first half of 2014

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies made almost 150,000 requests for customer information from Verizon during the first half of 2014, according to a report released by the company Tuesday.

Nearly half of the requests came in the form of subpoenas, which asked for information on 132,499 “information points.” Multiple information points — such as names and addresses tied to a phone number, IP address or numbers that a customer called — are often tied to one customer. Verizon said that approximately 75 percent of the subpoenas they received sought information on one customer and 90 percent sought information regarding three or fewer customers.

2014_07_Verizon1-compressor The law enforcement demands Verizon received from Jan. 1, 2014 to June, 30 2014 (Credit: Verizon)

Verizon also said the FBI issued between 0 and 999 national security letters — a warrantless subpoena of communications and Internet activity — in the first half of 2014, which sought between 2,000 and 2,999 “selectors” to identify a customer. NSLs are issued when an FBI investigation is tied to international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

The report also tallied the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders for the last half of 2013 — the government requires a six-month delay for this information — covering “content” and “non-content” requests. Content is considered actual communication across Verizon’s network, while non-content refers to call logs or other “transactional” information.

Verizon reported between 0 and 999 FISA orders for content and non-content, with content orders targeting between 3,000 and 3,999 “customer selectors” used to identify customers.

The company also said it is prohibited from “reporting on other matters, such as any orders we may have received related to the bulk collection of non-content information.”

2014_07_verizon2-compressor A chart of the national security demands Verizon released as part of its latest transparency report. (Credit: Verizon)

Verizon received more than 37,000 court orders in the first six months of the year, with the majority falling under “general orders,” which releases the same information sought after in a subpoena.

The report is the second on transparency for Verizon, which released similar numbers for 2013 in January.

Verizon’s disclosures come as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its first-ever transparency report on data collection last month.

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