Google and other companies have already made general calls for more transparency in the wake of the PRISM revelations, and it looks like Mountain View is now escalating those requests to a court challenge. As The Washington Post reports, Google is asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for some additional leeway with the government requests for data that it's able to disclose, and it's citing the First Amendment to make its case.
In a statement provided to us (included in full after the break), a Google spokesperson says that the company is specifically asking the court to let it "publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately," adding that "lumping national security requests together with criminal requests - as some companies have been permitted to do - would be a backward step for our users." That's in line with a statement Google made on Friday, which was echoed by Twitter, although there's no word yet on it or any other companies joining Google in the court challenge at this time.
We have long pushed for transparency so users can better understand the extent to which governments request their data--and Google was the first company to release numbers for National Security Letters. However, greater transparency is needed, so today we have petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow us to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately. Lumping national security requests together with criminal requests - as some companies have been permitted to do - would be a backward step for our users.