AT&T: Government data requests top 300K

AT&T received more than 300,000 government requests for user data in 2013, according to the company’s first Transparency Report, which was published Tuesday.

The total number of government requests for civil and criminal investigations, 301,816, includes 248,343 subpoenas, 36,788 court orders and 16,685 search warrants, the report said. 


Of those 301,816 requests, AT&T challenged 3,765 requests and provided partial or no information in response to 13,707 of the requests, the company said.

The report also outlined government requests for user data for national security purposes.

AT&T received at least 2,000 requests for user data in the form of National Security Letters, affecting at least 4,000 accounts, according to the report.

Additionally, in the first half of 2013 — a limit on reporting imposed by the Department of Justice — the company received between zero and 999 requests for user information containing content under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, affecting at least 35,000 user accounts, AT&T said.

AT&T’s Transparency Report makes it the second major telecommunications company to publish information about the national-security-related requests for user information it received from the U.S. government.

In January, Verizon published its Transparency Report, revealing more than 300,000 requests for user data from federal and law enforcement agencies last year. The Verizon report did not include information about government requests for data under its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorities.

CREDO Mobile, a smaller telecom company, published its first Transparency Report earlier this year, outlining 16 government requests for the information on the company’s roughly 125,000 subscribers.

Internet companies, including Google, have for years published information on government requests for user data. 

After suing the government for the ability to publish information about the national-security-related requests they receive, five Internet companies last month reached an agreement with the Department of Justice allowing them to publish more specific information about the types and number of requests they receive.