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Verizon to Publish Reports on Government Data Requests

Verizon announced yesterday (Dec. 19) that it will begin publishing a semiannual transparency report that will list the number of data requests the telecommunications company receives from law enforcement and other government organizations.

The company said the report will show the total number of requests received from law enforcement agencies, and then break down the numbers into categories such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants.

The reports will also list the details of any information requests tied to either emergencies or legal demands.

MORE: 7 Ways to Lock Down Your Online Privacy

Verizon is in talks with the government about reporting the number of National Security Letters it receives. Recipients of National Security Letters, which demand metadata related to national security, are currently forbidden from disclosing that they have received the letters.

"Verizon is committed to our customers' privacy, and we do not sell information that individually identifies our customers to third parties without our customers' consent," Randal S. Milch, Verizon's general counsel and executive vice president of public policy, said in a statement.

"All companies are required to provide information to government agencies in certain circumstances, however, and this new report is intended to provide more transparency about law enforcement requests," Milch said.  

"Although we have a legal obligation to provide customer information to law enforcement in response to lawful demands, we take seriously our duty to provide such information only when authorized by law," he added. "We have released the lion's share of this data for the past two years, and we are taking this step to make this information more consistently and more easily available."

The first transparency report on data requests will be published in early 2014.

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