back to article Microsoft reports on how often it helps police with their enquiries

Microsoft has joined the list of companies opening up about its cooperation with THE MAN with its own report on how often it helped out the police last year, and says it'll issue updates on the situation every six months. Redmond came in for some stick in January when a coalition of activists, privacy organizations, and …


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  1. Bumpy Cat

    13%? 1%!?

    With MS saying yes between 1 and 13 percent of the time, I have to wonder how the police system works. Are these cops just going on random fishing expeditions? Do they understand the law of their country? I mean, if MS were defying the law 99% of the time, then you would imagine them being thrown out of the country or prosecuted themselves. That means that in 99% of queries in Turkey, the police had no real hope of a positive answer, so they must be making these requests without a warrant or equivalent court order.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Quxy

      Random fishing expeditions?

      Of course. And this is surprising... why?

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Firmware Flush

      Re: Use MS services

      Or more generally, use any major online service and get watched

      1. dogged

        Re: Use MS services

        That's just Eadon.

        One day you too may be "technical" enough to understand that although Google accede to more requests and give away more data, only MS are any danger.

  3. JaitcH

    Microsoft is no Google

    MS has always been pro-pro law, it even has a How to Hack for Plod Kit available whereas Google has a record of resisting police.

    So no credit to MS.

  4. kevin biswas

    I am surprised by how LOW the rate of co-operation is.

    So 87% to 99% of data requests from law enforcement agencies are DENIED. I cant decide if it reassuring to know they try so hard to protect their users, or alarming that they give so little help to the plods. Or is it conceivable that they might actually be getting the balance right ? nah, thought not.........

    1. kevin biswas
      Big Brother

      Re: I am surprised by how LOW the rate of co-operation is.

      I dislike much or perhaps even most of what government and police do and stand for. But hate it or loathe it, it is an undisputable fact that if you defy them they will go out of their way to ***k you up, and they have the full resources of the state behind them to do that with. That is a realpolitik fact which people and organizations have no choice but to deal with. Given that context, it seems to me reassuring that the VAST MAJORITY of requests for users data etc are rejected. Does anyone really expect microsoft to give the man the finger like the pirate party, lulz sec or anonymous might do ? So clearly they have to strike a balance. And the fact that the balance is vastly in favour of their users is , to my mind, a good thing. I am certain that in china the scales would be tipped far over the other way.

  5. graeme leggett

    Co-operation quite high

    check the figures themselves

    For United Kingdom of 9,226 requests covering 14,301 accounts seeking customer data

    0% resulted in subscriber content data being turned over

    76.5% of requests resulted in " Subscriber/Transactional (Non-Content) Data" being handed over

    23.0% of requests had "no data found"

    0.5% rejected as "not meeting legal requirements

    Of note the US stands out for MS giving out subscriber content in about 14%

    of requests, and about 7% being rejected as not legally valid (worldwide MS average is 2.2% and 1.2%)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the meaning of 'police request'?

    I did not find that explained in the article. By that, do they mean an informal (or formal, for that matter) request from a police force, as opposed to a court order?

    If it is the former, what is the exact nature of the information disclosed on that one to thirteen percent of cases, and why has it been disclosed at all? Did that include any personal or what some national privacy laws call "sensitive" information (gender, age, ethnic background, beliefs, ...), which even the police are prevented from accessing in the general case?

    I understand that there might be a case for disclosing some information absent a court order: for example, a business I have an interest on will release certain data relating to a user's access to a certain service, following an accident or serious incident, to the relevant investigating agencies, in the context of the safety investigation aimed at understanding the causes of the event and preventing re-occurrence (the results of these investigations are explicitly excluded from any legal proceedings). However, in the same instance, "my" business will not release any information whatsoever for any purposes other than the aforementioned, unless an order from a competent court has been served. A mere police request is not enough to cause any action on our part, on the basis that we are not qualified to judge the merits of it--that's what a tribunal does.

    Not trying to second-guess Microsoft or anyone else here, just thinking that a bit more detail on the extent to what disclosures are made and the circumstances thereof, would be a welcome addition to the article.

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