recommended reading

Apple, Facebook, and Other Tech Companies Will Disclose More About Government Data Requests

Rick Rycroft/AP

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google will tell their users more about government requests for their data, in the wake of a series of leaks exposing the NSA's secret bulk data collection programs. As the Washington Post reports, companies that have already adopted a practice of notifying users of government requests "have found that investigators often drop data demands to avoid having suspects learn of inquiries." 

Here's more from the Post

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.

But that doesn't mean that every government request for data will become public knowledge. Orders making their way through the FISA Courts — which grants the authority for the NSA's data queries — are automatically secret. And as the Postnotes, so are the FBI-issued national security letters. In the end, all four companies confirming the changes to the Post say they'll end up disclosing information on requests with more frequency, and will have clearer policies on when those requests are withheld from the public, and why. 

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr responded to the Post's story with a statement, claiming that the move will endanger their investigations: 

"These risks of endangering life, risking destruction of evidence, or allowing suspects to flee or intimidate witnesses are not merely hypothetical, but unfortunately routine.”

If you want to know which other tech companies already disclose data requests to their users, you can check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Who Has Your Back?" resource.   

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.