Amazon: US Govt. Is Requesting More Shoppers’ Data


Amazon released a transparency report on its website on Wednesday (July 31), and it said that for the first six months of the year, the U.S. government requested more data than it had in the six months before, according to a report by TechCrunch.

“Amazon does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order,” the company said. “Unless prohibited from doing so or there is clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of Amazon products or services, Amazon notifies customers before disclosing content information.”

Amazon got 14 percent more subpoenas and 35 percent more search warrants, and the data includes devices from Amazon’s Echo voice assistant, and from Kindle and Fire Tablets. Also, data was requested from home security devices. 

Amazon said it works diligently to protect its customers. 

“Where we need to act to protect customers, we do. We have repeatedly challenged government demands for customer information that we believed were overbroad, winning decisions that have helped to set the legal standards for protecting customer speech and privacy interests,” the company said in its report. “We also advocate in Congress to modernize outdated privacy laws to require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant from a court to get the content of customer communications. That’s the appropriate standard, and it’s the standard we follow.”

The numbers show that Amazon handed over the requested data in about four out of every five cases. Received search warrants for Amazon Web Services were down, but there was a 77 percent increase in subpoenas for customer data. 

The company said it opposed legislation that would weaken encryption technology.

“While we recognize the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal and terrorist activity, and cooperate with them when they observe legal safeguards for conducting such investigations, we oppose legislation mandating or prohibiting security or encryption technologies that would have the effect of weakening the security of products, systems, or services our customers use, whether they be individual consumers or business customers,” it said. “For AWS clients, we offer strong encryption as one of many standard security features, and we provide them the option to manage their own encryption keys. We publish security best practices documents on our website and encourage our clients to use these measures to protect sensitive content.”


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