Google challenges gag order, citing First Amendment
In 2012 the FISA secret court approved 100% of the
1,789 government requests it received.
An American Police State - In the olden days I campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the GOP would morph into a 1984 Police State Party (backed by the Democrats) with unconstitutional spying on all Americans, gag orders violating the 1st Amendment and secret courts issuing secret rulings.
What the fuck have we become in only a few short years?
The Washington Post reports that Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests it makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it’s forced to give the government.
The legal filing, which cites the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about sweeping National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic.
Google, one of nine companies named in NSA documents as providing information to the top-secret PRISM program, has demanded that U.S. officials give it more leeway to describe the company’s relationship with the government. Google and the other companies involved have sought to reassure users that their privacy is being protected from unwarranted intrusions.
In the petition, Google is seeking permission to publish the total numbers of requests the court makes of the company and the numbers of user accounts they affect. The company long has made regular reports with regard to other data demands from the U.S. government and from other governments worldwide.
“Greater transparency is needed, so today we have petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow us to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately,” the company said in a statement.
All of the technology companies involved in PRISM, including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, have struggled to respond to the revelations about NSA surveillance. Most have issued carefully word denials, saying that they do not permit wholesale data collection while acknowledging that they comply with legal government information requests.
FISA court data requests typically are known only to small numbers of a company’s employees. Daring to discuss the requests openly, either within or beyond the walls of an involved company, can violate federal law.
The FISA court, composed of 11 federal judges appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., rarely rejects government requests for information and rarely make its opinions public. The court approved 100% of the 1,789 government requests it received in 2012.
See more at The Washington Post.
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