Web companies give first look at secret US government data requests
SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Facebook, Microsoft , Yahoo and Google on Monday began publishing details about the number of secret government requests for data they receive, hoping to show limited involvement in controversial United States (US) surveillance efforts.
The tech industry has pushed for greater transparency on government data requests, seeking to shake off concerns about their involvement in vast, surreptitious surveillance programmes revealed last summer by former spy contractor Edward Snowden.
The government said last month it would relax rules restricting what details companies can disclose about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) court orders they receive for user information. Several companies, including Google and Microsoft, sued the government last year, seeking the ability to disclose more of that data.
Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said on Monday the latest data showed that the info the government has asked online companies to turn over has not been as vast as some feared.