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Verizon Rejects 3% of Government Info Requests

Verizon says the number of federal, state or local law enforcement requests for information has remained fairly stable compared to past half-year reports.

For the first half of 2017, according to the latest transparency report (opens in new tab), Verizon received a total of 138,773 such requests, which included warrants, subpoenas and emergency requests.

Almost all those were targeted to consumers rather than business customers, and covers Verizon wireline services—phone, internet and television—and Verizon Wireless services and telematics.

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It does not include AOL or Yahoo!, which will release their own, combined report.

Verizon said it rejected about 3%, or about 4,000, requests as invalid, including because "a different type of legal process is needed for that type of info."

There were also some other requests that it did not comply with, but did not treat as rejected requests included in the 4,000 tally. Those included 1) requests for data it did not need to collect or 2) was too old to still need to be retained, 3) because it was held by a different communications provider, or 4) because the request was too broad and needed refining.

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"This is our eighth transparency report," blogged Verizon General Counsel Craig Silliman. "The number of demands that we have received each year has been fairly stable since we made our first report over four years ago."

Silliman put in a plug for bills working their way through Congress, that would require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant, not just a subpoena or court order, to obtain the content of emails or texts from an ISP.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.