Dropbox will refuse blanket data requests

Cloud SaaS

by Joe Curtis| 13 February 2014

Cloud storage firm criticises US Justice Dept concession over publishing data request numbers.

Dropbox has sworn to resist blanket data requests from governments after law reforms preventing firms revealing the number of such demands "don't go far enough".

The cloud storage firm set out four principles to deal with government requests for user data this week, after growing concern amid tech companies over laws shrouding those requests in secrecy.

They are: be transparent, fight blanket requests, protect all users, and provide trusted services.

Chief lawyer Bart Volkmer wrote in a blog post: "We believe everyone has a right to know how much information the government is seeking from online services.

"This lets users fight back against improper requests, helps prevent abuses of power, and allows for a more informed public debate."

Dropbox's commitment follows a relaxation of the restrictions stopping tech firms reporting how many data requests they have received in the name of national security.

Late last month the US Justice Department settled litigation from five companies (Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook) by allowing them to publish how many data requests they had - but only in vague bands of 250 (so, 0-249, 250-599) or 1,000.

Dropbox said the concession fell short of expectations.

"It doesn't go far enough, especially for services that receive only a handful of requests or none at all," Volkmer said.

"We believe the public has a right to know the actual number of requests received and accounts affected, and we'll continue to push to be able to provide this information."

Dropbox received 0-249 data requests in the past 12 months, according to its latest transparency report.

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