Late last year, some activist shareholders of Verizon and AT&T demanded the companies publish transparency reports to retain the trust of its customers. Verizon is the first major phone carrier to publish a report of this kind — other carriers, like AT&T (plans to publish report in “early 2014”), Sprint and T-Mobile US, have yet to take a similar step.
The transparency report divides the requests into different categories; in 2013, Verizon received 164,184 subpoenas, followed by 70,665 court orders, 36,696 warrants, approximately 50,000 emergency requests from law enforcement, and between 1,000 and 2,000 National Security Letters. The report does not specify the number of subscribers or accounts impacted by these requests, nor does it contain information on FISA orders.
Of the 70,665 court orders received last year, 6,312 were for so-called pen/trap orders; a pen register order requires Verizon to provide real-time access to phone numbers as they are dialed, while a trap and trace order compels the company to provide real-time access to the phone numbers from incoming calls. Verizon also received 1,496 wiretap orders, requiring the company to assist with the surveillance of a call’s content.
The report also shows that Verizon is willing to give out large chunks of information about its customers without a warrant. According to Verizon’s report, only 36,696 of the 321,545 requests in 2013 included a warrant.
Verizon says it will continue to issue transparency reports on a semi-annual basis.