Slack and transparency

Our recently published report on transparency and our policy on user data requests

As a workplace communication platform, we are frequently asked about legal and government requests for user data. People are especially interested in our process for evaluating these requests and how we comply with them.

To answer these questions and to provide some clarity about our thinking, today we are publishing our first Transparency Report and posting our User Data Request Policy.

Working on privacy here at Slack, the most common question I get is, how many law enforcement requests for data have you gotten? I’ll save you a click by copying our entire Transparency Report here:

As of April 30, 2015, Slack has received the following legal requests:

  • Government requests for user data: 0
  • Other legal requests for user data: 0
  • Content take-down requests: 0

Hard as it is to believe, to date Slack has not received a single request for user data or a single content removal request. At our rate of growth, we know this won’t be the case forever or even for very much longer. Having the unusual benefit of no user data requests to process, we’ve been able to step back and think carefully and thoughtfully about what we want our approach to be when that day comes. That thinking is reflected in our policy.

The second most commonly asked question I get about user data requests is — will you tell me if you get a legal request for data about me or my team? You’ll find that answer in our User Data Request Policy above but I’ll save you another click. Our position is simple: if we get a legal request for user data, we will provide notice in advance to affected parties, teams, or individual users, unless we are legally prohibited from doing so or unless some circumstance exists that prevents us from doing so. This includes situations when disclosure could cause harm to specific people or jeopardize the security of our network.

Our goal is to put teams and users in control of their data and their privacy. To do that, we try to be transparent about our practices and our approach. Transparency is a key value for us and an important feature in Slack itself. It’s this commitment to transparency that brings me to my last point — Slack opposes government-mandated “back-doors” of any kind but particularly a government-mandated requirement that would compromise data security.

It might seem an odd thing to even have to say that, but it is important that every dissenting voice speaks out: together, we have a much better chance of influencing the outcome. We are not the first company to venture into the debate about privacy and liberty. We will not be the last. But to the extent that anyone wonders where we stand, we want there to be no doubt where that is.

 

Anne Toth
VP People, Policy & Compliance

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.