Redmond came in for some stick in January when a coalition of activists, privacy organizations, and journalists called for it to follow the example of Google (and more recently Twitter) in being more open about what information it hands over the police. Of particular concern is the data on Skype, whose privacy or lack of it is worrying many users.
"In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests," said Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post. "We seek to build further on the industry's commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today."
In 2012 Microsoft received 75,378 law enforcement requests for customer information, spread over 137,424 accounts. Of these Microsoft agreed to help uncover user content in 2.1 per cent of cases, but this data only covers Hotmail/Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Account, Messenger and Office 365 – with a separate data set for Skype."