Transparency Report mailbox.org 2020
Today we publish our transparency report of 2020, in which we account for all requests for information that we as a provider have received by the authorities last year.
Requests sent to mailbox.org in the year 2020
Total number of requests: 85
From German authorities: 79
From foreign authorities: 6
Criminal investigative authorities: 85
Customs authorities: 0
Intelligence services: 0
Contact data requests: 80
Inbox confiscations: 4
Traffic data requests: 1
Telecommunications interceptions: 0
The overall number of requests we received in 2020 has increased slightly when compared to the previous year. A total of 43 requests were found to contain flaws or be unlawful for other reasons – those requests were consequentially rejected. Of all unlawful requests, 20 were subsequently re-submitted with their formal issues remedied, and then processed. 23 requests were ultimately rejected.
How was it possible that such a large number of official requests were deemed unlawful? The reason was that the majority of these were made based on inappropriate legal grounds. Whenever a request to obtain information about one of our customers is submitted, the legal basis for such a request must be explicitly stated. It is concerning that so many of the investigative authorities appear to be ignorant of the relevant legal requirements: 40% of all requests quoted the wrong legal basis or did not provide any at all. We also note that there was an overall lower number of requests this year that were subsequently resubmitted with corrections.
About half of the requests sent by investigative authorities in 2020 have reached us by e-mail, so the use of fax seems to be on the way out. Unfortunately, most of these e-mails were sent to us as unencrypted plain text, which we think is highly inappropriate, considering the sensitive information transmitted.