Law Enforcement Requests Report Frequently Asked Questions

Like other communications companies, we are served with legal process (subpoenas, court orders, search warrants) compelling the disclosure of customer information and business records. We believe helping our customers understand how often information about our customers is being requested is important. The Time Warner Cable Transparency Report summarizes the volume and types of requests we receive from governmental entities for customer information. We have also provided answers to frequently asked questions related to the practices we follow to strengthen protections for the privacy of customer information.

1) What does this Transparency Report cover?

This report provides specific information regarding the requests for customer information we received from government and law enforcement agencies in the United States. The graphs cover the volume and type of requests related to criminal investigations and civil matters. The statistics related to national security letters and FISA orders may only be reported in broad ranges so these are tracked independently in the table included below the graphs.

2) What is a Non-Content request?

These requests are almost always governed by 18 U.S.C. 2703(c)(2). Under this federal law, the requesting party cannot request any information showing what customers are doing with their TWC services and are limited to account identifying information such as name, address, telephone number and IP address. For the full list of allowable information, please see the statute.

3) How does Time Warner Cable notify customers when their information is requested under legal process?

Absent explicit direction included within the process, Time Warner Cable’s current practice is to provide meaningful notice to our customers of any process that seeks personally identifiable information about them.

4) Does Time Warner Cable have a policy for handling incidents that are declared "life or death" emergencies by law enforcement?

Consistent with 18 U.S.C. 2702, if Time Warner Cable believes there is an emergency involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, it may disclose information about a customer to a governmental entity. To request assistance during these emergencies, we request law enforcement officers to certify in writing the nature of the qualifying emergency situation and the specific information disclosure required. Examples of incidents where law enforcement requires immediate assistance from us include:

  • Bomb threats received by schools and hospitals; and
  • Suicide or death threats

These requests provide valuable aid to first-responders, often averting tragedy or aiding in the recovery of missing children. However, like all other requests, they are thoroughly scrutinized by qualified personnel to protect the privacy and safety of our customers.

5) Does Time Warner Cable receive National Security Letters and FISA Orders?

Yes, Time Warner Cable is served with national security process, including orders received under FISA and National Security Letters, compelling the release of basic account information or our technical assistance conducting lawfully authorized electronic surveillance. Time Warner Cable carefully reviews each order to ensure that it is a lawful request. If there is any question about the validity or scope of a request, we challenge it in the same manner we challenge all demands for customer information.