Google Asks Permission To Publish Info About FISA Requests | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Google Asks Permission To Publish Info About FISA Requests

As Google and other large tech companies cope with the aftermath of recent reports that the National Security Agency has had broad access to their users' data, the search giant is asking the U.S. government for permission to publish the number of national security requests it receives, including those made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller, Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, said that government nondisclosure obligations are keeping the company from being able to ease public concerns about the privacy and security of users' data.

Noting that the search and advertising company "has worked tremendously hard over the past fifteen years to earn our users' trust," Drummond wrote that Google's inability to disclose "the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests" fuels speculation that the company has given the U.S. government free access to all its users' data. That speculation, Drummond wrote, is "simply untrue."

Google is seeking to publish the total number of national security requests it receives, including FISA disclosures, and to publish information about their scope.

"Google's numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made," Drummond wrote.

He also said that Google has "consistently pushed back on overly broad government requests for our users' data."

Drummond thanked Holder and Mueller for allowing Google to say publicly how many national security letters it receives, information the company was allowed to publish for the first time in early March. Saying that there had been "no adverse consequences," Drummond said he sees the current request to release FISA data in a similar light.

"Transparency here will likewise serve the public interest without harming national security," he wrote.

Google keeps track of requests to remove content and to see users' data on its Transparency Report, where it lists such activity for each country in which the company does business.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Founders Claimed A Subversive Right To 'Nature's God'

The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation, insists historian Matthew Stewart. He tells NPR's Arun Rath about his book, "Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic."
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.