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Google, Facebook and Yahoo petition court to disclose government data requests

Brian Heater
September 9, 2013
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It's not every day you see Google, Facebook and Yahoo aligned on a issue, but a push toward increased governmental transparency is just the sort of cause that'll put competing web companies on the same outraged page. All three noted today through their respective channels that they've filed petitions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to disclose the number of requests the government has issued for user data under national security statutes. Says Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell:

We believe that the U.S. Government's important responsibility to protect public safety can be carried out without precluding Internet companies from sharing the number of national security requests they may receive.

The move comes as a number of companies get ready to meet with the President's Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. It also follows petitions sent to the President and Congress back in June. Though, as Facebook's Colin Stretch notes:

[T]hat one step is not enough. The actions and statements of the U.S. government have not adequately addressed the concerns of people around the world about whether their information is safe and secure with Internet companies.

The respective announcements from the three companies can be found in the source links below.

Engadget’s parent company, Verizon, now owns Yahoo. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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