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Verizon claims 72,500 government subpoenas received over past 6 months

Verizon Communications said it received approximately 72,500 government subpoenas through the first half of this year requesting information on its customers.
The information was released as part of the telecommunication providers Transparency Report, which followed up on an initial report released in January. The report was prepared in the wake of revelations that telecom operators had been providing the government and law enforcement agencies with access to consumer data. Carriers have recently begun to push back against such demands, which are required as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in the wake of reports that telecom operators had been complying with such demands in the past.
Verizon noted that the most recent information requests were connected to just .1% of its U.S. customers; that 90% of the subpoenas sought information about three or fewer customers; and that the average number of customers whose information was demanded through a single subpoena was less than two. Verizon added that none of the requests were for information stored in its overseas data centers. Verizon previously was not allowed to report the total number of requests.
The German government recently canceled a contract with Verizon, citing the telecom operator’s cooperation with the U.S. government. Since 2010, Verizon had been providing infrastructure for a network used for communication between German ministries in Berlin and Bonn. At a press conference late last month, a German interior ministry spokesman said the government wants more “technological sovereignty” and prefers to work with German companies.
In releasing the reports, Verizon said it hopes to “add to the ongoing discourse about government demands for customer data and, more generally, about privacy and public safety.”
“While 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,” the company noted in a press release. “We hope that our most recent Transparency Report will provide useful data on those demands.”
Operator cooperation with the federal government has been an ongoing issue, with Verizon stating in 2006 that it had not turned over phone call records to the National Security Agency as reported by USA Today.
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