US & World
Never let it be said that AT&T and Verizon don't follow each other's leads. Just one day after Verizon announced it would start publishing a semiannual transparency report that details all of the law enforcement requests it receives, AT&T announced that it would being doing the same in early 2014. The carrier's report will include info on the total number of law-enforcement data requests received from the government in criminal cases, the number of subpoenas, court orders, and warrants received, and the total number of customers affected. The first report issued should cover all of the requests from 2013.
AT&T also reiterated that it ensures all data requests and its responses are "completely lawful and proper in that country" and that it doesn't allow the government direct connections or access to its network or customer information. However, AT&T also noted that it believes "any disclosures regarding classified information should come from the government." That's not exactly a surprise, as the carrier is legally prevented from detailing requests that come from FISA warrants or National Security Letters, which the NSA and DHS commonly use.
AT&T and Verizon are hardly the only companies who've made increased transparency a priority in recent months — Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and others have begun making this standard practice since the revelations of extensive NSA data-gathering became public earlier this year. AT&T and Verizon's new move towards transparency comes at an interesting time, however — earlier this week, the president's NSA review panel just recommended an end to the bulk collection of phone metadata.
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