Law enforcement may also use subpoenas in other ways. Police have issued a warrant to Google for any devices in the vicinity of the crime scene.
The companies say they sometimes work with law enforcement officials to narrow down their requirements so that companies only turn over information relevant to one incident.
How often do authorities collect such data from tech companies?
Apple said that during the first half of 2020, the closest period available, it received more than 5,850 requests from US authorities for data related to 18,600 accounts. It delivered basic data in 43% of those requests and actual content data, such as emails or photos, in 44% of requests.
Microsoft says it received 5,500 requests from US law enforcement during the same time period, including 17,700 accounts, and it turned basic data for 54% of requests and content into 15% of requests. bridge.
Google says it received 39,500 requests in the US during that time period, covering nearly 84,700 accounts, and transferred some data in 83% of cases. Google doesn’t analyze the percentage of requests for base data versus content, but it does say that 39 percent of requests are subpoenas while half are search warrants.
Facebook says it received 61,500 requests in the US during this time period, including 106,100 accounts, and it passed some data on to 88% of the requests. The company said it received 38,850 subpoenas and complied with 89% of them during this time, and 10,250 subpoenas and complied with 85%.
In these cases, U.S. authorities include any federal, state, or local law enforcement offices.
Do companies ever decline these requests?
It’s correct. The companies said they sometimes push back on subpoenas, court orders and subpoenas if they believe officials lack proper legal authority or if the request is too broad.