Amazon Says Law Enforcement Requests For Customer Data Soared During First Half Of 2020

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Amazon says that customer data requests from law enforcement agencies around the United States increased significantly during the first half of 2020. Amazon unveiled statistics on the number of customer data requests from government agencies during its latest transparency report published late last week. The figures provided showed that it received 23% more subpoenas and search warrants, and a 29% increase in court orders this year than in the first half of 2019.

Requests included data collected from the retail storefront, Echo devices, and tablets in the Kindle and Fire ranges. Amazon also notes that requests for data from the company's cloud services, Amazon Web Services, also increased compared to 2019. Amazon received 2416 subpoenas this year, turning over all or partial user data in 70% of the cases.

It received 543 search warrants, and all or partial user data was given to agencies in 79% of cases. A total of 146 court orders were received, and data was turned over in 74% of cases. While the online giant provided information on court orders, search warrants, and subpoenas requested, it offered no comment on what caused the rise in government requests for user data during 2020.

Amazon did say it had received between zero and 249 national security requests in 2020, which was flat compared to 2019. Speaking about requests for data from overseas agencies, 92% of the 177 foreign requests received were rejected. It turned over partial user data in 10 cases, and all requested data in four cases.

Amazon offered no insight into what sort of data was requested by the agencies in its report. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the CEOs of several other major technology companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook were recently in Washington DC for antitrust talks with lawmakers.