Wednesday, June 12, 2013

 

Google asks U.S. govt to allow more disclosure of national security request data

WASHINGTON, - Google on Tuesday asked the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to allow it to disclose more details about the national security request for its users' data, amid ongoing controversy over the government's internet surveillance programs.

The search engine company sent a letter to the office of U.S. Attorney General and the FBI on Tuesday morning, according to a statement released by Google.

In the letter, David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer asked permission to publish "aggregate numbers of national security requests," including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, in terms of the number and the scope of these requests.

Google said it had worked "tremendously hard" over the past 15 years to earn the users' trust, said the company.

"Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users' data are simply untrue," wrote the letter.

Google stressed that the government nondisclosure obligations about the FISA national security requests and the number of accounts covered by those requests fueled the speculation.

"Transparency here will likewise serve the public interest without harming national security," said Google in the letter.

Google has revealed statistics about government requests for user data in its Transparency Reports, but the company is barred from discussing or even acknowledging the existence of FISA orders.

Google and other major Internet companies denied news reports over the past week that they have given the National Security Agency (NSA) direct access to their servers to mine users' data as part of an internet surveillance program called PRISM.

According to the Guardian and the Washington Post reports last Thursday, the NSA and the FBI had been secretly tapping directly into the central servers of nine U.S. internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time.

The technology companies that participated in the programs reportedly include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

• Google asked U.S. gov't to allow it to disclose more details about the national security request data.

 • Google sent a letter to the office of U.S. Attorney General and the FBI on Tuesday morning.

 • Google has revealed statistics about government requests for user data in its Transparency 


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