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Amazon Reports Spike in US Law Enforcement Requests for User Data

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Government requests for data from Amazon Web Services spiked in the first half of 2017, with Amazon receiving 1,936 requests from the US law enforcement entities. During the latter half of 2016, Amazon received 1,583 requests.

Amazon’s latest biannual transparency report shows that the company received 1,618 subpoenas, 229 search warrants, and 89 other orders requiring it to hand over data. Of those, the company said it either fully or partially responded to 1,465 of the requests it received from law enforcement authorities in the US. According to ZDNet, Amazon’s compliance in the latter half of 2017 was higher than in previous periods.


Compared to other tech giants, Amazon’s overall numbers are strikingly low—Google, for instance, received 16,823 requests for user data from US officials in early 2017. But Amazon’s transparency report only covers its cloud business, so it may receive more requests for shopping data or Alexa data that it does not disclose.

Amazon said it received 75 requests from authorities outside the US but only complied with two of them.


Amazon got a poor grade on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual “Who Has Your Back?” report, which ranks tech companies on how well they stick up for users’ privacy rights. EFF gave Amazon credit for doing some work to protect users but said the company could improve by notifying its users when the government requests their data and by fighting gag orders that sometimes accompany data requests.