Verizon releases transparency report for 2nd half of 2015

By: Craig Silliman
Verizon releases transparency report for 2nd half of 2015

Verizon is pleased to release our Transparency Report for the second half of 2015. As in the past, this report describes the different types of demands we receive and the types of data that we disclose in response to those demands. During the second half of 2015, we received almost 140,000 demands for customer information from United States law enforcement.  The number of demands that we have received each year has been fairly stable since we made our first report three years ago.  In fact, over this period, the number of demands in each category we report (i.e., warrants, orders, subpoenas) has also been generally consistent.

Protecting our customers’ privacy will always be a bedrock commitment at Verizon. While we have a legal obligation to provide customer information to law enforcement in response to lawful demands, we take seriously our duty to provide such information only when authorized by law.

In recent years, there has been active, and often contentious, debate over the balance between privacy on one hand and law enforcement and national security on the other. Those debates will, and should, continue. Our countries’ law enforcement and national security agencies play an indispensable role in ensuring a safe and peaceful environment in which we can work, learn and play without fear. At the same time, when we as citizens grant powerful tools to our law enforcement and national security agencies, we are giving up some of our privacy and other rights in exchange for safety. That trade-off should be examined constantly to ensure that the balance is appropriate and that the important work of government is carried out with citizens' full consent.

In order for society and policy makers to strike that proper balance between security and privacy, it is essential that we have as much information as possible about the scope of governments' activities.  As we have noted before, the most complete data regarding government demands is in the hands of the governments around the world. By contrast, Verizon’s Transparency Reports, and those of other telecommunications and internet companies, cannot provide a complete picture of government action. We therefore, again, call on all governments to make public the number of demands they make for customer information from telecom, Internet and other companies.

Craig Silliman is Verizon’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Public Policy. He leads Verizon’s legal, regulatory, public policy, government affairs and security groups. Before assuming his current position in January 2015, Silliman was senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, with responsibility for Verizon's global public policy, federal and state legislative affairs, federal regulatory affairs, strategic alliances, national security, privacy and corporate citizenship.  Prior to that, Silliman served in a number of other senior management roles at Verizon. He was senior vice president and general counsel for Verizon's wireline consumer, business and wholesale groups globally, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel, with responsibility for antitrust, intellectual property, national security, privacy and strategic product support.