Tech Titans Take Further Action On NSA Spying Transparency

Facebook, Google and Yahoo all lodge legal petitions to let them talk aboue NSA data requests

Three Internet giants who allegedly worked closely with the National Security Agency (NSA) are hoping to have the US government let them open up more about the orders they receive from the US government for user data.

Google, Facebook and Yahoo have all placed pressure on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to let them publish figures on how many data requests they receive that are signed off by the court.

google-london-officeThe FISC has been at the centre of the NSA controversy, brought about by leaks from ex-contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. It has been accused of operating without proper oversight, letting it issue orders for personal data of both US citizens and foreign nationals from Internet firms.

Fighting NSA secrecy

Facebook, Google and Yahoo have signed petitions with the FISC asking for permission to publish additional data on national security requests received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The companies are also meeting with President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology to discuss transparency.

“We’ll reiterate the same message there: that the levels of secrecy that have built up around national security requests undermine the basic freedoms that are at the heart of a democratic society,” said Google’s  Richard Salgado, director for law enforcement and information security, and Pablo Chavez, director for public policy and government affairs.

Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell added: “The United States should lead the world when it comes to transparency, accountability, and respect of civil liberties and human rights. The US Government’s recent decision to release aggregate annual data about its requests for phone call logs and Internet chats was an important first step in this direction.

“Granting our petition for greater transparency around national security requests for user data is a critical second step.”

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