Security Experts:

Verizon to Publish Report on Government Demands for User Data

Verizon on Thursday said it would publish a report that would disclose data on the number of law enforcement requests it received for customer information in 2013 in the United States and other nations in which it does business.

Verizon's transparency report will identify the total number of law enforcement agency requests received from government authorities in criminal cases, the telecommunications giant said.

Verizon Transparency ReportThe report will also break out user data by category such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants. Verizon will also provide other details about the legal demands it receives, as well as information about requests for information in emergencies.

Verizon said the first report would come in early 2014, with updates being published semi-annually.

"Verizon is committed to our customers' privacy, and we do not sell information that individually identifies our customers to third parties without our customers' consent,” Randal S. Milch, executive vice president, public policy, and general counsel, said in a statement.

“All companies are required to provide information to government agencies in certain circumstances, however, and this new report is intended to provide more transparency about law enforcement requests,” Milch added. “Although we have a legal obligation to provide customer information to law enforcement in response to lawful demands, we take seriously our duty to provide such information only when authorized by law.”

Verizon joins a handful of companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo!, which have started to disclose how often governments demand user data, and how they comply with those demands.  

"In the past year, there has been greater focus than ever on the use of legal demands by governments around the world to obtain customer data,” Milch said. “Like others in the industry, the aim of our transparency report is to keep our customers informed about government requests for their data and how we respond to those requests.”

Verizon also said that it is working with the U.S. government regarding the detail the company can report on the number of National Security Letters it received last year.

Verizon said its transparency report will not disclose information about other national security requests it received.

Related Reading: US Review Panel Urges Wide-Ranging NSA Spying Overhaul

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.