Google files with secret court to obtain permission to report on two data sets

Google files with secret court to obtain permission to report on two data sets
In the never ending NSA PRISM sega, Google filed a motion with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) today claiming it has a First Amendment right to publish what it argues are non-classified data points.

Stating that its business has been harmed by inaccurate media reports and that its users are concerned about the allegations, Google seeks to be able to include more information in its transparency reports.

The first is to provide a “total number of [FISA] requests [Google] receives, if any.” That would take shape in a presumably similar fashion to the range of requests it received from the FBI in the form of National Security Letters, which Google is now allowed to acknowledge. However, the NSLs are tied to criminal activity whereas PRISM is, well everything.

The second data set is to publish “the total number of users or accounts encompassed within such reports” which, would again be similar to the company’s most recent filing where it was allowed to acknowledge the NSLs and the general scope of their intended targets.

The FISC approved every request it received from the government last year. However, Google’s filing arguably does nothing to reveal the true scope of investigative or surveillance activity. That said, the nature of preventing anyone from knowing what you are up to demands that revealing quantitative information be kept to a minimum.

sources: Google via Ars Technica

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