Amazon says government demands for user data spiked by 800% in 2020


The data is comprised of shopping search results and information taken from the Echo, Fire, and Ring devices.

New transparency figures published by Amazon shows that the company has responded to record-breaking government demands for information in the final 6 months of the year 2020.

The latest figures are included in Amazon’s bi-annual transparency report that was posted to Amazon’s website on the weekend.

Amazon has said that it handled 27,664 government requests regarding user data during the final six months of 2020. This is which is up from the 3,222 demands during the initial six-month period. That’s nearly 800 percent. The data of the user includes the results of its shopping search and information on Amazon’s Echo, Fire and Ring devices.

The new report presents information in a different way from the previous transparency reports. Amazon has now broken down the top countries that request data. U.S. authorities historically made up the majority of total data requests Amazon receives, but the recent report indicates Germany with 42 percent of all requests being followed by Spain at 18%, and Italy as well as Italy and the U.S. with 11% percent each.

However, the report also removes the distinction between legal and legal processes and now makes a distinction between requests it receives for user-generated content as well as for non-content. Amazon has said that it provided information about user content in 52 instances.

As for it’s Amazon Web Services cloud business that it separates, Amazon said it processed 523 requests for data, which included 75% of the requests coming from U.S. authorities, and Amazon provided users’ data in 15 instances.

An Amazon spokesperson wouldn’t divulge what caused the dramatic growth in data-related demands. (Amazon does not often comment on their transparency report.)

The report on transparency from Amazon is one of the tiniest of reads among all the tech giants with just three pages length. It also spends the majority of the time explaining the way it responds to any legal requirement, instead of focusing on the information it provides. Amazon is famous for its infamous secrecy and shady practices, was the one of the largest technological giants to issue transparency reports in 2015. The majority of tech companies have added information in their reports on transparency such as taking down notices and account deletions, Amazon bucked the trend by taking the information from its transparency reports, despite its expanding access to millions of homes.

The Financial Times reported this weekend that Ring, the security camera as well as home security company bought from Amazon in a deal worth $1 billion currently has over 2,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, allowing police departments to view the doorbell camera footage of homeowners.


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