Amazon Information Requests

Amazon knows customers care deeply about privacy and data security, and we optimize our work to get these issues right for customers.

  • Amazon does not disclose customer information unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Unless prohibited from doing so or there is clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of Amazon products or services, Amazon notifies customers before disclosing content information.
  • Where we need to act publicly to protect customers, we do. Amazon never participated in the NSA’s PRISM program. We have repeatedly challenged government subpoenas for customer information that we believed were overbroad, winning decisions that have helped to set the legal standards for protecting customer speech and privacy interests. We also advocate in Congress to modernize outdated privacy laws to require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant from a court to get the content of customer communications. That’s the appropriate standard, and it’s the standard we follow.
  • While we recognize the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal and terrorist activity, and cooperate with them when they observe legal safeguards for conducting such investigations, we oppose legislation mandating or prohibiting security or encryption technologies that would have the effect of weakening the security of products, systems, or services our customers use, whether they be individual consumers or business customers. We offer AWS clients strong encryption as one of many standard security features, and we provide them the option to manage their own encryption keys. We publish security best practices documents on our website and encourage our clients to use these measures to protect sensitive content.
  • We are members of numerous associations focused on protecting privacy and security, and AWS has achieved a number of internationally recognized certifications and accreditations demonstrating compliance with third-party assurance frameworks. AWS clients have control over their content and where it resides.

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Amazon Information Request Report

This bi-annual report provides additional information on the types and volume of information requests we processed during the reporting period.

Types of Information Requests Received by Amazon

Subpoenas. Subpoenas are valid and binding legal demands for information or testimony issued by courts, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, or grand juries, usually without any substantive review by a judge or magistrate. We produce non-content information only in response to valid and binding subpoenas. We do not produce content information in response to subpoenas. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate subpoenas as a matter of course.

Search warrants. Search warrants may be issued by local, state, or federal courts upon a showing of probable cause and must specifically identify the place to be searched and the items to be seized. We may produce non-content and content information in response to valid and binding search warrants. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate search warrants as a matter of course.

Other court orders. Other court orders refers to valid and binding orders issued by local, state, or federal courts, other than search warrants or court-issued subpoenas. For example, we may receive a court order, obtained by a government entity, seeking to remove user content or accounts. Such removal requests are reported separately in the statistics below. Our responses to other court orders depend on the nature of the request. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate orders as a matter of course.

National security requests. National security requests include National Security Letters ("NSLs") and court orders issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"). Our responses to these requests depend on the nature of the request. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate national security requests as a matter of course. Amazon is prohibited by law from reporting the exact number of NSLs and FISA orders it receives. Therefore we report the numbers of such requests only within certain ranges set by the government.

Non-U.S. requests. Non-U.S. requests include legal demands from non-U.S. governments, including legal orders issued pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process or the letters rogatory process. Our responses to these requests depend on the nature of the request. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate non-U.S. requests as a matter of course.

Content v. Non-Content Information

Non-content. "Non-content" information means subscriber information such as name, address, email address, billing information, date of account creation, and certain purchase history and service usage information.

Content. "Content" information means the content of data files stored in a customer's account.

How Amazon Responds to Requests

Full response. Full response means that Amazon responded to valid legal process by providing all of the information requested.

Partial response. Partial response means that Amazon responded to valid legal process by providing only some of the information requested.

No response. No response means that Amazon responded to valid legal process by providing none of the information requested.

For the period July 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017:

Subpoenas: 1,452
How Amazon responded:
Full response: 570
Partial response: 500
No response: 382

Search warrants: 223
How Amazon responded:
Full response: 103
Partial response: 80
No response: 40

Other court orders: 86
How Amazon responded:
Full response: 39
Partial response: 22
No response: 25

National security requests: 0-249

Non-U.S. requests: 103
How Amazon responded:
Full response: 0
Partial response: 0
No reponse: 103

Removal requests: 0
How Amazon responded:
Full response: 0
Partial response: 0
No response: 0

Published: February 9th, 2018


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