Microsoft charges the FBI for user data

Microsoft makes loads of money off things other than Windows and Office. You probably know about the millions they make from other companies selling Android devices, but what about the millions they rake in charging the FBI for access to user data?

The Syrian Electronic Army has leaked what they claim are genuine invoices from Microsoft to the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit (DITU). On them are hundreds of line items for individual requests, with finally monthly tallies ranging from a paltry $10,275 back in April of 2012 to a whopping $280,000 last November.

Handing over anything to the FBI (or any other government agency) is rarely a hassle-free process. There are protocols that must be strictly adhered to, and there are legal ramifications that must be carefully considered. When you factor in the amount of time Microsoft’s legal department spends negotiating the specifics for these requests, they’re likely losing money on that part of the process alone — and the actual data hasn’t even been gathered and given to the FBI at that point.

What the FBI is paying is minimal, really. $50 when a subpoena has been issued. $75 for a court order. $100 for a search warrant. And that’s for the first access on an incident. Any additional charges are half those amounts.

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