Amazon's first transparency report details data requests for 2015

Amazon has finally published a bi-annual transparency report (PDF), revealing the kinds of data requests it received from the government in recent months and how the company responded to them. Apparently, from January 1st to May 31st, 2015, the e-commerce giant got:

  • 813 subpoenas - Amazon provided all the info requested for 542 of them

  • 25 search warrants - the company issued authorities every info they needed in 13 instances

  • 13 court orders - the court got every info it asked for a total of four times out of 13

  • 132 various requests from outside the US

  • 1 removal request, which Amazon granted

  • Between 0 and 249 national security requests, including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders. The company can't legally publish the exact number, so you'll have to take a guess.

In the blog post announcing the report, Amazon Web Services Chief Information Security Officer Stephen Schmidt made it clear that the company was never part of the NSA's PRISM surveillance program. He also said Amazon believes search warrants should be a requirement if authorities want to access a customer's information, and that it won't support any legislation that mandates putting backdoors on websites. Schmidt, however, didn't explain why the corporation used to be very secretive about these numbers. It's even the last tech company in the Fortune 500 to come out with a transparency report, according to ZDNet, despite being criticized for years by industry watchdogs like the EFF.