It is no secret that companies are allowed to charge government agencies if they wish to access certain information, such as customer data, but have you ever wondered how much companies actually charge?
Well thanks to the Syrian Electronic Army, they have managed to obtained invoices from Microsoft that shows how much the company charges the FBI for providing them with customer information.
The hacked invoices were given to The Daily Dot to analyze and according to their findings, each time the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) requested for customer information, Microsoft charged them anywhere between $50 to $200 for the transaction. It doesn’t seem like a lot, does it? However monthly totals have managed to reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the most recent invoice for November 2013 totaling $281,000.
Naturally Microsoft nor the DITU would confirm whether or not the documents were real, but a specialist told The Daily Dot that they saw no indication that the documents might be fake. In a statement Microsoft released to The Verge, “Regarding law enforcement requests, there’s nothing unusual here. Under US law, companies can seek reimbursement for costs associated with complying with valid legal orders for customer data. We attempt to recover some of the costs associated with any such orders.”
Like we said this is no secret. In fact Sprint recently came under fire from the government who sued them for overcharging on wire taps. In any case the issue here isn’t how much Microsoft charges, but given the total amount that Microsoft bills DITU every month, it certainly shows how frequent that government agencies like the FBI request for customer information.