In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations and allegations that top ISPs and tech companies were complicit in the mass surveillance of the American people by the NSA, there has been an avalanche of transparency reports detailing law enforcement requests for user information and what became of them. The latest is Time Warner Cable (TWC), whose first transparency report shows that it processed around 12,000 government requests in 2013.
“Like other communications companies, we are served with legal process (subpoenas, court orders, search warrants) compelling the disclosure of customer information and business records,” it said. “We believe helping our customers understand how often information about our customers is being requested is important.”
Out of the total requests, 82% were subpoenas. Another 12% were the result of court orders, followed by 4% being search warrants, 2% being emergency requests, and 0.3% being for pen register, trap and trace orders and wiretap orders.
A majority (77%) of the requests were for basic subscriber information and “transactional” data, which Time Warner provided. In 20% of the cases it did not release the requested information. And in only 3% did it return “content” information, which would detail actual
communications or other relevant behavioural information.
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