Major Internet Companies Ask Feds to Let Them Report National Security Requests

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Tomorrow, more than five dozen Internet companies, including the major Silicon Valley players, will ask the government to allow them to release information to users about the national security requests they’ve handled, according to a report in AllThingsD.

The companies signing on to the request include Google, Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL, Digg, Dropbox, Meetup, Mozilla, Reddit, Salesforce, Tumblr and The Wikimedia Foundation.

As the implications of the NSA’s data-mining surveillance efforts continue to be discussed, the Internet companies that provided or are suspected of providing user data to federal authorities have had their hands tied: They want to be able to reassure their users that they didn’t hand over the keys to the farm, but they’re not allowed to talk about their dealings with the NSA.

Several companies, including Google and Twitter, issue transparency reports documenting law enforcement requests for user information. But they are forbidden to discuss similar requests that stem from national security concerns.

The companies will ask the the president and congressional leaders to give them permission to disclose on a regular basis, in the same generic terms of the transparency reports, statistics about national security requests. Specifically, want to be able to report the number of requests, the number of individuals, accounts or devices about which information was requested and the type of information requested, whether it was the actual content of email messages, blog posts or the like, or basic subscriber information.

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