Tech Giants to Feds: Let Us Air Our Role in NSA Spying

Google, Facebook urge feds to lift gag orders

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2013 5:04 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Google and other tech giants are far from happy about being seen as willing partners in the NSA's Internet surveillance program and they want the government to lift gag orders so they can show otherwise. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo have requested secrecy orders be eased so that they can tell the public the number and scope of information requests received, the Washington Post reports. "Google has nothing to hide," the company's chief legal officer wrote in an open letter to the attorney general and the head of the FBI.

The companies say lifting the ongoing gag orders would be a welcome move toward greater transparency and would end "incorrect speculation" about their role in assisting security agencies, CNET reports. Analysts say the companies could end up losing a lot of business if they're not allowed to be open about their role in government surveillance programs. "The NSA doesn’t care about its brand," an American Civil Liberties Union technologist notes. "It’s the Internet companies whose brands are suffering."

No government spies to be seen at this Google data center in Iowa.
No government spies to be seen at this Google data center in Iowa.   (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou)
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Government should take action to allow companies to provide additional transparency. - Statement from Microsoft

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