Dropbox believes that transparency is imperative to earning and maintaining users’ trust. That is why, every six months, we report the number of requests made by governments for user information, the number of accounts subject to those requests, and how we respond. Today we are publishing our latest transparency report which includes data from July to December 2019. Because of our commitment to transparency, we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our reports, and in this report, we’ve included some additional data points for the first time.
Beginning with this report, we will publish the number of government requests we have received to preserve user information. Law enforcement uses preservation requests to ask providers like Dropbox to retain existing information while they work to obtain legal process for the lawful disclosure of that information. When we receive these requests, we preserve a one-time snapshot of available user information for 90 days. We do not disclose the preserved information unless we receive valid legal process. In the second half of 2019, we received 773 requests to preserve user information. While no information is disclosed in response to preservation requests, we believe that reporting this new data point will provide our users with additional information about the types of requests we receive.
We’re also adding more detail on requests that appear to come through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process or other process for international cooperation. These processes enable the government of one country to seek the assistance of another country in legal matters, such as the collection of evidence. These requests have always been - and will continue to be - included in our domestic numbers. It’s not always clear if a request is the result of such diplomatic procedures, but when it is or appears to be, we’ve decided to report that information. We believe providing more information on MLAT requests is important context on the requests we receive, particularly in light of the recent passage of the Cloud Act and upcoming implementation of the US-UK bilateral agreement.
As always, we continue to carefully scrutinize all requests we receive to ensure they satisfy legal requirements and align with our guiding principles. In the second half of 2019, Dropbox received 24.6% fewer domestic legal process requests and the same volume of international requests compared to the prior reporting period.
We hope that this report, along with the additions we’ve made, provide users with more insight into the changing legal landscape and our response to it. View our full transparency report with additional details and data here: https://www.dropbox.com/transparency.