Yesterday, Google petitioned the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court for permission to release more verbose details on the data requests they receive from police agencies. Google says that the 1st amendment to the Constitution guarantees their right to inform their users what is happening when they comply to FISA requests.
Google, like many other tech giants, are concerned about their “Don’t be evil” image since former NSA contract information analyst, Edward Snowden, leaked controversial information about the PRISM program to the Guardian and The Washington Post.
This recent legal petition by the Internet giant is invoking the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to allow the company to circumvent preceding gag orders. Google claims their reputation is hanging in the balance now that so much information, whether totally true or just misaligned facts, have been divulged. Much like Yahoo’s recent statement, Google says they want to be more transparent to the public and help solve this mounting on-line privacy and security scare.
The official court document petition filed by Google on Tuesday reads in part,
Transparency is a core value at Google and the company is committed to informing its users and the public about requests it receives from government agencies around the world for the production of users’ information and! or communications. Google publishes a Transparency Report conveying this Nothing in this Motion is intended to confinn or deny that Google has received any order or orders issued by this Court.
Other tech powerhouses such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook have all received some limited permission to inform the public about the number of data requests they receive. However, the parameters about those requests are still highly classified information.