Amazon has officially released their first transparency report, becoming the last of all Fortune 500 companies to release such a report.
When we think of Amazon, we typically think of shopping or games. Maybe we even think about the Kindle devices that have become fairly popular over the course of the last several years. One thing we likely do not think about throughout the entire Amazon thought process, is that they have a pretty significant cloud and data business established. They work with a lot of websites, providers, businesses – small and large – and are even pushing into the gaming space on this front – creating “cloud gaming.”
Stephen Schmidt, who oversees Amazon’s data and privacy issues pointed out in a blog post on the company’s blog that, “Where we need to act publicly to protect customers, we do. Amazon never participated in the NSA’s PRISM program. We have repeatedly challenged government subpoenas 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.”
This was a particularly big announcement given the fact that Amazon didn’t actually participate in the NSA’s PRISM program. Most people to date have taken for granted the fact that most companies who are in the cloud space are being watched by the government. That being said though, it would appear as though this is one company, which is fairly significant in the cloud space, who didn’t at all participate.
As for the report, the company noted that they received 813 subpoenas. Amazon noted that they fully complied with only 66% of them. There were 35 search warrants, and the company complied with just over half of these requests. Amazon had an 82% compliance rate with the 132 foreign requests, which are indicative of the requests made by entities outside the United States. Then of the 13 other orders that the company received – they complied fully with just four of them.
Generally speaking, people have become a lot shier when it comes to sharing information – and generally have become desensitized to the information that is shared throughout the digital world. People don’t want to believe that their information is being shared without their say, and even more often, people want to feel as though their information is safe online. Whether it is or not, that remains to be seen, but in general – while Amazon received a little more than 800 requests for data, the company seems to be working hard to only give the information that is required.