FISA requests for Google data that include content

Last week, the US government finally relented on letting technology companies publish more detail about national security requests; today, some bigger firms are taking advantage of the looser rules. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Yahoo have updated their transparency reports to reveal the range of FISA requests that covered user content like posts and photos, not just user names and other basic information. As is often the case with national security affairs, there are strict limits involved. The reports still have to cover broad ranges that aren't very helpful, and reports must be delayed by six months -- we won't get request numbers for the last half of 2013 until the middle of this year. None of the companies are completely happy with the government's move, and they've promised to keep pushing for greater accountability. It's not a perfect solution, then, but it will shed at least a little more light on the US' online surveillance activities.

Update: Microsoft has also joined in.

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Facebook, Google and Yahoo now say when the US government requests user content (update: Microsoft too)