Tech Groups Urge US Government to Drop Secrecy of Data Requests
Large tech groups such as Google, Facebook and Reddit asked the US government for more transparency regarding secret requests for user data, according to Tech World. As the scale of US government surveillance continues to make headlines worldwide, important Internet players and trade groups joined forces and signed a letter asking for less secrecy around government orders for data.
“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement-related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,” the letter reads, according to IDG News Service. “We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security-related authorities.”
In late May, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed several data collection projects of the US government, showing the media documents about the gathering of email metadata, instant messaging traffic and file transfers. Snowden is still in a Moscow airport trying to obtain asylum.
While tech players have to comply with government requests for data, the requests can’t be made public under orders from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The letter asks the U.S. Department of Justice to let companies publish statistics on government requests “under specific national security authorities.” Tech companies also demand that the Congress passes legislation that makes the government comply with similar data reporting, because the “information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people.”
The joint letter is mainly addressed to President Barack Obama, the National Security Agency, and several House and Senate members. The document will be available next Thursday.