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Hogan Lovells Publishes White Paper Analyzing Service Provider Transparency Reports

28 August 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. 28 August 2013 – Hogan Lovells recently released the next installment in a series of White Papers examining government access to data held by service providers. This most recent White Paper examines the most recent "transparency reports" published by Google, Microsoft, Skype, Twitter, and LinkedIn concerning law enforcement requests for data in multiple countries, concluding that when the numbers are adjusted for population sizes and the number of Internet users in each respective country, they reveal that the U.S. government requests information from these providers at a rate comparable to — and sometimes lower than — that of several other countries, including many European Union member states.

An Analysis of Service Provider Transparency Reports on Government Requests for Data was authored by Christopher Wolf, Co-Director of Hogan Lovells' Privacy and Information Management practice, with assistance from colleagues Sachiko Jepson and Bret Cohen.

The White Paper, third in a series, follows up on A Sober Look at National Security Access to Data in the Cloud, which demonstrated that the limitations applied to U.S. law enforcement access to data stored in the Cloud during national security and foreign intelligence investigation in many cases surpass restrictions applied during similar investigations in other countries, and A Global Reality: Governmental Access to Data in the Cloud, which debunks the frequently expressed assumption that the U.S. is alone in permitting governmental access to data stored in the Cloud.

When the per-capita and per-Internet-user data requests for Google, Microsoft, Skype, Twitter, and LinkedIn were combined for 2012, the newest White Paper shows that the U.S. government requests totaled approximately 96 per capita and 119 per Internet user in 2012, compared to values over twice as high for Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong, and greater values for France, Australia, and Germany.

"In 2012 it was reported that the rate at which European governments seek access to private data is at an 'all-time high,' having increased more than the rate of U.S. government requests during the same period," said Wolf. "While there is no comparison of governments' national security requests for data, it is important to note that there is a growing consensus for amendment of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to expand the warrant requirement in the U.S."

U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry, in a major address on international privacy delivered today at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, expressly cited this new Hogan Lovells White Paper and its findings.

About Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells is a leading global legal practice providing business-oriented legal advice and high-quality service across its exceptional breadth of practices to clients around the world.

"Hogan Lovells" or the "firm" is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells US LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP. For more information, see www.hoganlovells.com.

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