Most recent tallies of data and user requests authorities have made of online companies

By SB Anderson

Below is a summary of the latest data provided by the major online companies about how many requests they’d received from U.S. law enforcement agencies for user information. Google, Microsoft and most recently Twitter had regularly been releasing “transparency reports” with such data; Apple, Facebook and Yahoo released general data in recent weeks in response to the controversy over National Security Agency monitoring activities. Sources for each company are listed at the bottom.

APPLE 12/1/2012 to 5/31/2013 4,000-5,000 9,000-10,000 From federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.
FACEBOOK 7/1/2012 to 12/31/2012 9,000-10,000 18,000-19,000 From any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests). These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat.
GOOGLE 7/1/2012 to 12/31/2012 8,438 14,791 Via Google Transparency Report. 69% from subpoena; 22% search warrant; 9% other, including court orders. Google is among the most forthcoming in details on government requests.
GOOGLE (NSL) 2012 0-999 1000–1999 Google is among a few who release National Security Letters data. The data can only legally be released in aggregate tiers of 999.
MICROSOFT 7/1/2012 to 12/31/2012 6,000-7,000 31,000-32,000 Criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal). Microsoft had been releasing regular transparency data, along with Google and most recently, Twitter.
MICROSOFT (NSL) 2012 0-999 1000–1999 Microsoft, like Google, releases annual data on National Security Letters. The data can only legally be released in aggregate tiers of 999.
TWITTER 7/1/2012 to 12/31/2012 815 1,145 Via Twitter Transparency report. 60% from subpoenas; 19% warrants; 11% court order.
YAHOO 12/1/2012 to 5/31/2013 12,000-13,000 N/A Includes criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests. The most common of these requests concerned fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations.

Compiled by On the Beat from company releases.