Amazon for the first time has released a report on the number of government data requests it receives, offering the public more information on how often it hands over its customers' data to judges and law enforcement agencies.
The e-commerce company, which runs the largest public cloud-infrastructure business in the world, hadn't previously released a biannual transparency report, despite repeated criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and the digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Transparency reports publish how often a company receives requests for customer data, such as a subpoena or search warrant, from government bodies, as well as how often that company complies with such requests. These reports have become a tool for providing more information to the public in the wake of leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed that the US government, in particular, was actively targeting and storing user data.
Amazon, which has a reputation for keeping data about its businesses secret, was late to join the growing list of major tech and telecommunications companies that are now providing these reports. Facebook, for instance, sent out its first biannual report in August 2013. Reddit, meanwhile, joined in January of this year. Apple, Google, AT&T, Yahoo and Verizon also publish these reports.
"Amazon knows customers care deeply about privacy and data security, and we optimize our work to get these issues right for customers," Stephen Schmidt, chief information security officer for the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing business, wrote in a blog post published Friday night that included a link to the biannual report.
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