DreamHost Rejects More Than 80 Percent of Data Removal Requests in 2014: Report

Los Angeles-based hosting provider DreamHost rejected 57 percent of all legal requests for information in 2014, according to the company’s 2014 Transparency Report. The United States accounted for well over 85 percent of all requests, even leaving out FISA and National Security Letter (NSL) requests.

The 2014 DreamHost Transparency Report, the company’s first, was released this week, and summarizes the number of requests for information the company received, where they came from, what kind of complaint they pursued, and how often they were complied with.

FISA and NSL requests combined fell in the 0 to 999 range, and requests from the US were complied with 46 percent of the time, slightly below the global average.

The majority of requests were not from governments, which accounted for only 466 of over 1300 requests (35 percent), but rather were DMCA or trademark requests (65 percent) from enterprises or patent trolls. DreamHost investigates the various parties in each complaint, and has a process for flagging patent trolls, which likely contributed to the company’s modest compliance rate. Interestingly, DMCA and trademark related requests fell below the number of government requests at DreamHost in Q4 2014, after far surpassing them in the previous three quarters.

Among government requests, subpoenas made up two-thirds, while the remainder were evenly split between court orders and search warrants.

Of the minority of requests which were complied with, over 80 percent were responded to with limited information, which DreamHost says is a reflection of the importance it puts on maintaining customer privacy. Over 60 percent of rejected requests were due to procedural violations, such as an incorrect issuing court or missing required information.

DreamHost also rejected over 80 percent of data removal requests.

Rejecting requests does carry an element of risk for service providers, even when the request does not come from a government, as shown by the lawsuit filed in January by BMG against ISP Cox Communications for failing to disconnect repeat copyright infringers.