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Verizon Report: Law Enforcement Demands for Customer Data Remain Steady

In the first half of the year, law enforcement agencies made roughly 150,000 demands for customer data from Verizon’s wireless and wireline businesses.

The number is contained in a report that was released Monday and is roughly on par with requests in the same six-month period a year ago. Verizon’s biannual Transparency Report details various law enforcement requests that the telecom giant received from local, state and federal law enforcement. The requests include such things as subpoenas for subscriber information, wiretap orders to conduct real-time communications, and national security demands that cannot be used in ordinary administrative, civil or criminal proceedings.

Through the first six months of 2015, Verizon received 69,524 subpoenas, 37,230 court orders, and 15,081 warrants. The company also received 27,975 emergency requests from law enforcement. A law enforcement official cannot request the latter information unless she certifies that there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, such as in response to a bomb threat or kidnapping.

Verizon also disclosed receiving between 0 and 999 national security letters during the first six months of the year. The FBI can only request limited information in a national security letter, and such data as content and location information is not disclosed, according to Verizon. The company didn’t divulge the number of so-called FISA orders that were issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court because the government requires that the release of the information be delayed for six months.

The transparency reports help shed light on the volume, and types of, customer information that U.S. phone and Internet providers share with the government. Verizon first released a report on law enforcement requests in January 2014, detailing the demands that were made during the entire prior year.


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