Amazon Releases First Transparency Report

After having long been criticized for failing to share information with the public about government requests for user information, Amazon has released its first-ever transparency report. Issued late Friday, the report reveals how often Amazon has or hasn't complied with requests for information this year in response to government subpoenas, search warrants and court orders.

However, the report offers few details on how much -- if any -- information it has shared with U.S. agencies in response to national security-related requests for data. Amazon's report reveals only that it has received between 0 and 249 national security requests between January 1 and May 31 of this year.

In a blog post accompanying the report's release, however, Amazon emphasized that it has "never participated in the NSA's PRISM program," a surveillance program in which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) obtained data on Internet commmunications from a number of tech companies. Among the programs brought to light by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, PRISM collected information from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, among others.

Objection to 'Overbroad or Inappropriate' Requests

A brief, three-page document, Amazon's first "Amazon Information Request Report" indicates that the company received 813 subpoenas, 25 search warrants and 13 court orders from local, state or federal authorities in the U.S. during the first half of this year. It provided full or partial responses in a majority of those cases, but did not respond to 145 subpoenas, four search warrants and four court orders.

In addition to domestic requests for information, Amazon also received 132 requests from non-U.S. entities in the first half of this year, and provided a full response to 108, a partial response to seven and no response to 17.

The report -- to be issued bi-annually -- also reveals that Amazon has received between 0...

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