Microsoft just released it’s first-ever annual report on police inquiries for information on people who access their services online (think: Hotmail, SKYPE, BING, etc).
The one thing that sticks out immediately is that, out of every country in the world, the United States was second only to Turkey in the number of police requests for — not just subscriber information — but detailed information about where they went and what they saw.
I have summarized the United States portion here: (You can view the entire spreadsheet here)
U.S. Total # Police Requests: 11,073 (Over 1 in 7 of every request made in the WORLD was by United States Police)
U.S. Total # of request for Subscriber Info: 24,565 (Interestingly, there were multiple persons being spied on by each individual request, thus the higher number of subscribers than total # requests)
— It is also interesting to note that, contrary to popular belief, Britain is not as big a Police Spy state as us, since we requested almost double the amount of subscriber info than them…unless you account for proportionality…also our countries police requests were almost double that of Germany, and 7000 more than France…
Microsoft’s “Due Diligence” — in nearly 14% of the requests, Microsoft revealed “content” (i.e, where you have been, what you have seen), and in 65% of the requests, Microsoft revealed personal identification
And just so we’re clear about the times Microsoft “rejected” Police requests:
If a request was rejected, can you assure your customer that their information was not disclosed?
No. While no customer information is provided to law enforcement in response to a rejected request, it is possible that law enforcement later submit a valid request for the same information. (From Microsoft FAQ page on police requests)
Sleep well, and remember that it isn’t paranoia if it’s true…