According to Dropbox’s transparency report, the service received 268 requests for user information from the authorities in the first half of 2014. Besides, the service also received 37 requests for information from abroad, noting that now Dropbox requires non-US governments to follow the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process to make a US court issue the required legal process to the company. Last year, Dropbox received 90 requests from abroad.
It is the first time that Dropbox published its transparency report biannually, also sharing data on how many national security requests were received from the American government. However, like other companies, Dropbox is only allowed to disclose the existence of these requests in a nonspecific aggregation. This means that the most information it can share is that “0-249” requests were received, affecting “0-249” accounts.
Of course, that number is small compared to 300 million users of Dropbox, and especially compared to millions of requests Google receives at the moment. However, the service points out that all the requests are treated seriously and scrutinized to make sure they satisfy legal requirements before complying. Dropbox also claims to push back in cases where agencies are looking for too much information or have failed to follow the proper procedures.
In result, the service handed over content 103 times, and “non-content” (such subscriber data as the name and email address; the date of account creation and other transactional information including IP addresses) was handed over 80 more times.
Dropbox also stressed its commitment to informing users of any requests from the law enforcement authorities for their information. At the same time, government agencies ask the service not to notify users of requests for their information, even when they are not legally entitled to do so. If Dropbox receives a request coming with a gag order, it will inform the requesting agency of its policy and let users know about the request unless the agency provides a valid court order.
Dropbox releases the transparency report for the third time now, but it hasn’t prevented attacks from Edward Snowden, calling the company “hostile to privacy” and blaming it of cooperating with NSA under the PRISM program.