Microsoft: US "espionage" requests increased

Microsoft has received from the US government at least 1,000 control requests targeted to user content for the purpose of gathering external information during the first half of 2016.

Microsoft said on Friday it had received between 1,199 and 1499 orders under the Foreign Information Surveillance Act for user content between January and June 2016 compared with zero to 499 during the same period in 2015, 2015.

The figure, published in Microsoft's semiannual transparency report, is more than double the number of requests the company said it received in the past six months, the highest figure since 2011 when such government requests were counted.

The report, which quoted the agency "Reuters" excerpts from it, the number of user accounts affected by the orders of control declined during the same period, but from 17500 to 17999 to 12000 and 12499.

Spying on US intelligence agencies has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, in part because of unfounded assertions by President Donald Trump and other Republicans that the White House under former President Barack Obama has misguided Trump and his aides.

The US government allows companies to disclose the volume of control requests, under the Foreign Information Surveillance Act, in broad ranges, rather than the specific figures.

The surveillance orders, which are approved by judges of the Foreign Information Surveillance Court, are national security secrets. And rarely until a specific control order is disclosed under the Controller Act

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