AT&T received 301,816 demands for customer data from local, state, and federal law-enforcement officials in 2013, the company announced Tuesday in its first-ever transparency report.
AT&T’s report comes a month after Verizon announced comparable numbers, making it the first major phone company to divulge such detailed statistics on the government’s access to customer records.
Like Verizon, the number of data demands received by AT&T trump those issued to Internet companies such as Google and Microsoft.
The telecom giant also released, in government-mandated bands of 1,000, the number of surveillance requests it fielded in 2013. The government last year sent AT&T between 2,000 and 2,999 national security letters that affected between 4,000 and 4,999 accounts.
Between Jan. 1 and June 30 of last year, AT&T also handled between zero and 999 requests for customer content as prescribed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which collectively encompassed between 35,000 and 35,999 accounts. Additionally, up to 999 requests for non-content were processed during the same period, which involved up to 999 accounts.
Internet companies including Google and Facebook have pushed for the right to disclose more information about government surveillance of their users. The telecom giants have been more muted in their calls for greater transparency.
President Obama last month announced a package of government-surveillance reforms that includes a controversial effort to move the storage of phone records from within the government to the purview of phone companies or some hypothetical, undefined third party. The telecom lobby has expressed skepticism about the former idea, while the latter remains largely speculative.
San Francisco-based CREDO Mobile became the first telecom service to release a transparency report on government data requests in early January.
What We're Following See More »
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."