updated 10:12 am EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
First Comcast transparency report details government requests for customer data
Comcast received a total of 24,698 requests for customer data from law enforcement officials in 2013, the company has revealed in its first transparency report. The telecommunications provider is joining a number of other technology companies, including competitor Verizon, in providing summary figures to reveal how much data the US government is requesting about its subscribers.
There were 253 warranted requests for the content of communications across the carrier, reports The Verge, with a further 1,080 non-content requests, namely sender and recipient information and other metadata. 19,377 subpoenas were received by the company, while court orders relating to "general orders" made up 3,893 of the total number of requests. Pen Register and Trap and Trace court orders, asking for real-time access to phone numbers and e-mail addresses as they are being sent or received, hit 93 instances in the year, with only two court orders listed relating to wire tapping.
Counted separately from the main Criminal Requests list, Comcast reports there to have been 961 Emergency Requests in the year. It classes an Emergency Request as one where information is requested in cases involving the "danger of death or serious physical injury to any person," and can also include information related to 911 calls.
Comcast transparency report figures
As per the guidance of the Department of Justice, Comcast lists the number of National Security Requests in bands of 1000. National Security Letters for the entire year totaled somewhere between 0 and 999, with the same band of customer accounts affected. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders and warrants have the extra stipulation of a six-month delay, restricting Comcast to reporting requests for between January and June of 2013. FISA requests for content, non-content, and customer accounts affected for each are all listed under the 0 to 999 band.
Comcast advises it will be issuing its transparency report twice every year in the future.