Dropbox releases transparency report, says 80% of law enforcement requests came with gag ordersBy Himanshu Arora
Dropbox has released its latest transparency report, revealing that the company received 268 law enforcement requests for user information and between 0 to 249 national security requests between January and July 2014.
The 268 figure breaks down to 120 search warrants, 109 subpoenas, 37 non-United States requests, and two court orders. As for national security requests, which include National Security Letters (NSLs) and orders issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Dropbox says it is not permitted by the US government to report the exact number received.
The cloud storage service says although the number of government data requests it received is "small" compared to its user base, which stands at around 300 million, it treats all the requests seriously and scrutinizes them to make sure they satisfy legal requirements before complying.
"We also push back in cases where agencies are seeking too much information or haven't followed the proper procedures", said Dropbox legal counsel Bart Volkmer in a blog post.
He also revealed that law enforcement agencies frequently request gag orders even when they don't have the legal right to do so. "These types of clauses were attached to 80% of subpoenas we received in this reporting period".
This is Dropbox's first six-month transparency report; prior to this, the company only released transparency reports annually. Volkmer says that change was made "so people have up-to-date information and can watch more closely for trends".
Dropbox has been on the receiving end of criticism from privacy advocates. In a recent interview, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden even called Dropbox a "targeted, wannabe PRISM partner" that is "very hostile to privacy".