Big Tech Companies Reveal Government Requests For User Information

This week Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn were finally able to release some data on requests by law enforcement agencies and federal authorities from January to June of 2013. Getting to this point was quite the fight, but something the aforementioned companies decided was important to pursue because the NSA files leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden said that some corporations were actively cooperating with government agencies. All flatly denied those allegations.

Unfortunately the disclosures by these companies are very broad in nature, and only list how many users had information requested about them by the government. Even this little bit of information took a lot of effort and is the result of a petition filed with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court back in August of last year.

Another caveat for these companies is that they cannot provide the information the way they see fit. For example, Google wanted to break down the data based on categories such as "FISA orders based on probable cause," "Section 702 of FISA," "FISA Business Records," and "FISA Pen Register/Trap and Trace," but the company is not allowed to go into any specifics.

Below is a list of the information, with links to places where you can learn more about the data released by each respective company:

Microsoft provided content on somewhere between 15,000-15,999 accounts.
Google provided content on somewhere between 9,000-9,999 accounts.
Facebook provided content on somewhere between 5,000-5,999 accounts.
Yahoo provided content on somewhere between 30,000-30,999 accounts.
LinkedIn provided content on somewhere between 0-249 accounts, in response to both National Security Letters (NSLs) and FISA requests.

It's tough to wag a finger at any tech company we regularly do our daily business with when the government doesn't allow them to disclose more detailed information. Hopefully Congress, who claims that it is not happy with the NSA's activities, will do something about this problem…

Source: Ars Technica

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