recommended reading

U.S. Spied on More Than 300,000 AT&T Customers in 2013

Rob Wilson/

AT&T received 301,816 demands for customer data from local, state, and federal law-enforcement officials in 2013, the company announced Tuesday in its first-ever transparency report.

AT&T's report comes a month after Verizon announced comparable numbers, making it the first major phone company to divulge such detailed statistics on the government's access to customer records.

Like Verizon, the number of data demands received by AT&T trump those issued to Internet companies such as Google and Microsoft.

The telecom giant also released, in government-mandated bands of 1,000, the number of surveillance requests it fielded in 2013. The government last year sent AT&T between 2,000 and 2,999 national security letters that affected between 4,000 and 4,999 accounts.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30 of last year, AT&T also handled between zero and 999 requests for customer content  as prescribed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which collectively encompassed between 35,000 and 35,999 accounts. Additionally, up to 999 requests for non-content were processed during the same period, which involved up to 999 accounts.

Internet companies including Google and Facebook have pushed for the right to disclose more information about government surveillance of their users. The telecom giants have been more muted in their calls for greater transparency.

President Obama last month announced a package of government-surveillance reforms that includes a controversial effort to move the storage of phone records from within the government to the purview of phone companies or some hypothetical, undefined third party. The telecom lobby has expressed skepticism about the former idea, while the latter remains largely speculative.

San Francisco-based CREDO Mobile became the first telecom service to release a transparency report on government data requests in early January.

(Image via Rob Wilson /

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.