Google petitions Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over data requests

Google petitions Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over data requests

Summary: Google argues it has the constitutional right to publicly address information it is forced to share with the U.S. government.


In another move to either further clarify or separate itself from the U.S. government in the wake of the NSA scandal, Google has announced it is petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Last week, Google penned an open letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for the federal agencies to lift a gag order on national security requests, as did a few other tech giants involved in the NSA-PRISM revelations.

The U.S. Government loosened up a bit by letting some companies publish more data about how many requests they have received and how they have been handled.

But Google is pushing the envelope further on Tuesday.

As reported by The Washington Post, Google filed a petition with the FISC, citing the First Amendment protects the internet giant's right to publicly discuss information it has been forced to share with the federal government.

For reference, the FISC was established by U.S. Congress in 1978 as a special federal court to review applications for surveillance warrants related to national security investigations.

Here is a copy of a memo from Mountain View, published to Google+ on Tuesday afternoon, in full:

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.

Topics: Government US, Data Management, Google, Legal, Privacy

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  • PR ploy

    Google, FB, MS, Yahoo, Apple, et cetera MISLEAD public confusing "government requests" that they *can* deny and court orders, which they can *not*. Under gag order Google can not even admit that the order *itself* exists, let alone whether it is narrow or Orwellian.

    So even winning this 1st Amendment trial will not clear Google actually as it will only relate to "requests", not court orders.

    Though Google say government requests should go through court, in fact, not every one of them; otherwise they could not deny even single one of them (and Google, as well as others, say they deny overly broad requests): you can *not* deny court order.

    What Google and others do NOT say to people is that after they "deny" overly broad requests government goes to secret courts to have secret hearings to have secret rulings that would have absolute power and all of it under total gag order.
  • Nice Try

    Google is doing an about face, since they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. The whole: "we're now working for your privacy because we care about you" attitude is pure spin, because they know their cloud business model is in big trouble.

    I always warned people about the cloud; now it just proves my point even further that your data isn't safe. How much of people's lives will be handed over to Google? Well, that depends on how stupid people are.
    Corona Borealis
  • Freedom on the Rocks - Tyranny versus Terrorism

    If you want to know what the NSA is REALLY doing with your life and communications, read
    Freedom on the Rocks - Tyranny versus Terrorism:
  • To google

    You lied you said you would keep our stuff the gov can not keep their info safe so that means our is not safe so you have lied again