Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Asking the U.S. government to allow Google to publish more national security request data


This morning we sent the following letter to the offices of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read the full text below. -Ed. 

Dear Attorney General Holder and Director Mueller

Google has worked tremendously hard over the past fifteen years to earn our users’ trust. For example, we offer encryption across our services; we have hired some of the best security engineers in the world; and we have consistently pushed back on overly broad government requests for our users’ data.

We have always made clear that we comply with valid legal requests. And last week, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that service providers have received Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests.

Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue. However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.

We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope. Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide.

Google appreciates that you authorized the recent disclosure of general numbers for national security letters. There have been no adverse consequences arising from their publication, and in fact more companies are receiving your approval to do so as a result of Google’s initiative. Transparency here will likewise serve the public interest without harming national security.

We will be making this letter public and await your response.

David Drummond
Chief Legal Officer

11 comments:

Wayne Wang said...

Go Google!

Scott Arnold said...

Despite this desperate PR action, I would say the motto "Don't be evil" is now effectively dead. Google has become part of the problem, intertwined with the government in a way they would have resisted in years past.

It is high time for a competitor to rise up. Google has essentially become one with the government, and especially one with this administration.

Paul Anderson said...

You (Google) all are a load of crap. Was the NSA mistaken that they could harvest your customers' data since Jan 1, 2009? Were they just kidding?

Or were they serious, and you are lying? Or were they serious, and your security completely sucks and didn't realize the back door was wide open for 4 years?

DMC said...

If Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, etc. should all published simultaneously, what would the federal government do?

John D said...

Legal Speak by another Lawyer. Too bad Page has had to associate himself with the likes. Google lied last week and today they realize (through no algorithmic equation) that the truth was bound to come out and expose their integrity. Or lacktherof. So this is Spin the Story 101. Talk about insulting our collective intelligence. If we want answers I suggest we drum up a boycott goal. That might tweak the truth out of the 1 percenters.

Peter S said...

For the time being I'll give Google the benefit of my doubts, Google should know that the repercussions of it lying to its user base would be considerable, and the "deceit" is unlikely to remain secret for long, I'm still hoping that Google does still have some decent basic human values

Bob Elston said...

I will also give google (and the other providers) the benefit of doubt. It seems to me that many people are anxious to take the word of a criminal-in-flight, who has decided that he is above the law, and who knowingly violated is oath without questioning.

Google knows what the truth is about the FISA requests, how many and the scope. I hope the DOJ is willing to grant them the authority to publish that information.

Henry said...

I hope Google can stop the government. Now I trust more the
Chinese government as the american. America should think more about their policies, they can do what they want in their territories but not in Switzerland. China can hack few governments or enterprises, but America goes further and claims to be a democracy....

John D said...

With all due respect if Germany and England are clear about Google then anyone not drinking the Cool Aid should also put 2 and 2 together. The real question?: how was/is Page compensated for his information collection? Directly or indirectly he must be compensated. Drummond is a paid attorney, they are paid to spin truth (lie), but Page is not stupid enough to hand out free data.

brad canelo said...

No matter what YOU say or think, the smart thing to do now is to Watch what we say or do or they (the GOV.) can and will use it against US, shall we fall flat on our asses and be hauled off to jail for something stupid! This country has become like a GIANT Hitler where ALL people in power or authority has transformed into dictators (NAZIs)!!!

brad canelo said...

Very scary!!!