Verizon: in 2014, US government made 150K requests for customer data



The U.S. government issued around 150,000 requests for data on Verizon's customers, the country's largest wireless telecom reported today. Most of these requests were subpoenas.

The report is the second summary of government requests Verizon has publicly issued since shareholders pressured the company to divulge information it shared with the government in December. The government issued 72,342 subpoenas, half of which request subscriber information on a given phone number or IP address, while others ask for transactional information, like the phone numbers a customer has called, according to Verizon.

Verizon also received over 37,000 court orders, including 714 wiretaps, which give access to the content of communications and over 3,000 pen registers and trap and trace orders, which give the government real-time access to outgoing and incoming phone numbers, respectively.


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  1. I can't decide whether Verizon Math means Verizon actually received 1,500 or 15,000,000 requests for customer data.

  2. So, that's about four subpoenas per state per day for the feds. Is that a lot or a little?

    How many cases per year does the FBI investigate, anyway? I was only able to find a statistic on "white-collar crime" that about 2000 cases was a 50% drop (not that I expect most of the wiretaps to be in white-collar cases).

    The same article said the FBI has nearly 14,000 "investigators," which means each one is asking for customer info about every 2 months. Again, is that a lot or a little?

    700 actual wiretaps per year and 3,000 PEN traces seems pretty reasonable to me in a country this size, but what do I know?

    Has Verizon provided this information in the past? Are the numbers changing?

  3. OK, it took some searching but I think I found some decent numbers for the actual number of people subscribed to Verizon in Q1 2013. Their numbers for Q1 2014 shouldn't be too different because of raises and drops in subscriber numbers during the year (they had a weak Q1 in 2014).

    It looks like as of Q1 2013 Verizon's numbers were 98.9 million users for wireless and 188,000 on FIOS Internet.

    Counting phone and IP makes the total 99,088,000. That means another possible equation to look at is 150,000/99,088,000 = 0.0015 or 0.15% of Verizon subscribers which had requests for data made against them.

    Again, it's still a small percentage, but this is the population that was involved in the request. Another thing to remember is that some of those requests may be multiple requests on multiple phones or computers for just one person.

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