User Data Storage and Government Requests Explained
About User Data Storage and Government Data Requests
Technology and telecom companies store data on all user interactions. This includes "non-content data" (also called metadata), such as login times, user location and IP addresses of users involved in the communication. Technology and telecom companies may store actual content -- recordings or copies of emails, chats, video chats, and voice calls. This information can be captured across any type of network.
Governments regularly request access to this user data - either meta or actual content - for national security and law enforcement purposes. In many cases, the companies are compelled to give the government agency what it has requested. In other cases, the companies are able to make a legal argument against compliance and they do not fully comply with the government request.