Google seeks permission to publish information on data requestsMonday 09 September 2013 17.00
Internet giant Google has filed a petition to a US intelligence surveillance court seeking permission to publish information about the national security requests made to it.
In a posting on its public policy blog, the company says it has asked the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow it to publish detailed statistics.
They would detail the type of requests for data made to Google on national security grounds under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
Google says the petition mirrors earlier requests made to the US Congress and President Barack Obama by industry and civil liberties groups.
It says the levels of secrecy that have built up around national security requests undermined the basic freedoms that are at the heart of a democratic society.
It says it will communicate this message to President Obama's Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which it meets today.
Facebook has said it has also lodged a petition with the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, seeking a determination on what information it can disclose about requests for data made on the grounds of national security.
In a blog post, the company says it has repeatedly called in recent months for governments around the world to provide details about the surveillance programs they operate.
It said it initially had some success in getting the US government to allow it release the number of law enforcement requests for user data that it had received. But it says that is not enough, and the actions and statements of the US government have not adequately addressed peoples concerns about whether their information is safe and secure with internet companies.
It says it has become clear that dialogue with the US government is unlikely to yield further progress.
As a result it is joining others in the industry petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of national security related orders they receive.
It adds that while governments have an important responsibility to keep people safe, it is possible to do so while being transparent.