Verizon to issue first transparency report

Dec. 20, 2013 at 1:33 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Verizon Communications Inc. says it will follow several online giants' lead and reveal more about the customer information it shares with the U.S. government.

The nation's biggest wireless provider said it would deliver a semiannual "transparency report" starting early next year detailing government data demands.

"The aim of our transparency report is to keep our customers informed about government requests for their data and how we respond to those requests," Randal Milch, Verizon general counsel and executive vice president for public policy, said in a statement.

Verizon's online reports will break out the information in categories such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants, the broadband and telecommunications company said.

"Verizon will also provide other details about the legal demands it receives, as well as information about requests for information in emergencies," the company said.

Verizon and AT&T Inc., the No. 2 wireless carrier, have come under scrutiny for cooperating with government surveillance programs after revelations the National Security Agency obtained mass private information from them.

AT&T did not immediately say if it would publish a transparency report like Verizon.

Internet companies such as Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. all publish transparency reports about government data requests.

Those reports do not identify which government agencies -- from local police departments to the FBI and NSA -- make requests.

But Verizon said in its statement Thursday it was in talks with Washington about providing additional information about 2012 NSA requests.

"Verizon is working with the U.S. government regarding the detail the company can report on the number of National Security Letters it received last year," the company said.

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