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Microsoft and Google Challenge US Government Gag Orders

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the infinite-gagging dept.

Government 115

First time accepted submitter ace37 writes "Microsoft says it plans to move ahead with a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government in June to affirm the right of businesses to disclose limited information about government demands for data made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In separate legal filings, Microsoft and Google challenged the gag order that typically accompanies FISA demands for customer data. The two companies asserted that they have a First Amendment right to publish the total number of FISA requests received and the total number of user accounts covered by such requests."

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115 comments

Here's hoping... (4, Insightful)

static0verdrive (776495) | about 8 months ago | (#44720857)

This type of lawsuit can help regain some of the liberties the government has taken away, or at least some of the transparency. #WishfulThinking

Re:Here's hoping... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44720973)

"This type of lawsuit can help regain some of the liberties the government has taken away FROM CORPORATIONS, or at least some of the transparency".

FTFY

Re:Here's hoping... (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44721305)

"This type of lawsuit can help regain some of the liberties the government has taken away FROM CORPORATIONS, or at least some of the transparency".

FTFY

Well, when you are served with a FISA order, we will worry about your liberties.

In the mean time I'm pretty happy to have them pushing back, and I wish ALL the big companies would follow.
There is no doubt they are seeing this as harmful to their business, because users feel betrayed.

They need to push for revealing MORE information. For instance, EVERY USER, who's account was
subject to such an order should be notified (after a suitable passage of time, 6 months seems right for most cases).
The government would have to offer up this fact in Discovery if someone was subsequently charged, why should an innocent person deserve less?

Re:Here's hoping... (5, Informative)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 8 months ago | (#44721709)

You haven't been keeping up with all the news have you. It's understandable, considering how much is out there.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130805/10035024070/dea-not-only-gets-intelligence-data-then-is-instructed-to-cover-up-where-it-gets-info.shtml [techdirt.com]

Short summary: The NSA gives DEA agents "anonymous tips" on which vehicles to "randomly" stop. This is never mentioned in court.

Here's another one.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130829/16135324356/court-says-feds-dont-have-to-reveal-secret-evidence-it-gathered-against-terror-suspect-using-fisa.shtml [techdirt.com]

This time it's the courts saying that they don't have to show the evidence to the defendant or his lawyers. Not exactly the justice they taught in high school civics.

Re:Here's hoping... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#44722055)

That's just stupid if this isn't entrapment he needs another lawyer. Like saying your horny, when someone shows you a dark alley and a girl then arrest you for rape. Given he was a time bomb, and just looking for a chance; but to fabricate one is a make believe crime.
Bottom line of link:

And, on top of that, the court has now sanctified this whole practice of abusing surveillance to spy on people, and then laundering the evidence so no one can challenge it. This is terrible, and hopefully an appeal on this particular issue is forthcoming."

Re:Here's hoping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723201)

... taken away FROM CORPORATIONS ...

US corporations have been free to sell your details for years, and they do, and they admit it. In fact, corporations dislike the privacy laws that exist in the EU. NSL are a problem for corporations because (1) they can't talk about it; and (2) data must be provided, limiting the bargaining power of corporations.

Re:Here's hoping... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721173)

Here's hoping that standing up for civil rights makes good business sense. That's the only way it can attract the attention of big money to push back the other big money behind the power grab. Start a civil war of sorts inside the business community, and it might become conscious.

Re:Here's hoping... (2)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44721313)

I can't imagine any "Big Money" is in favor of this power grab. Except perhaps those selling equipment.

Re:Here's hoping... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721269)

I hope you're right in hoping for that. However, I feel that it'll be a catalyst for a nail in the coffin for this sort of "bitch". I mean to say that once there's a ruling in favor of the government's gag orders, there can be no more bitching.

Another point to reflect on, is that they're "bitching" about posting numbers. Who the fuck cares about the numbers? If the government wants to see *my* data, then it'd be real fucking nice if *I* was told about it. So if my google account was needing to be "searched", I feel that google should give them the data, but then tell me, "Hey man, the government has been given your data. That'd end anyone's "bitch". But maybe google/MS would fear that the people would then want to know "what data". For instance, I'm really wondering what sort of data MS has on me, as I don't use any of their products.

Re:Here's hoping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722317)

I don't think it would do anything more than legitimize the shit they're pulling.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Where's the exception in that language Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

They really didn't see that whole supreme court becoming political parties bitch thing coming when they set this government up.

Re:Here's hoping... (1)

GigaBurglar (2465952) | about 8 months ago | (#44723185)

No it's not - they're not on your side.. when will people learn this? Corporations only care about profit - not your rights. This is just really manipulative PR - your rights were taken away but you're suppose to feel a sense of victory that the constitution will hold up in this particular circumstance. I have no doubt that limited disclosure will be allowed - but it just gets you use to the idea of illegal mass surveillance.
They are turning up the heat and although you may get use to it - you're slowly boiling.

What you need is a class action lawsuit. If more people supported the EFF it would be a start.. If everyone just shut up with all the talking and put their money where their fucking mouth is - but the truth is that people are shit scared; stagnant; ... brain-dead - most people.

Let's see the others (2)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | about 8 months ago | (#44720869)

Particularly Wastebook, stand up and do the same.

Re:Let's see the others (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721031)

Americans, enjoying your fascism yet?

Re:Let's see the others (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44721341)

Americans, enjoying your fascism yet?

Go ahead, convince us its better where you live.

Re:Let's see the others (3, Interesting)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 8 months ago | (#44721493)

As long as you're not a whistleblower, its fine here!

Or object to 'national security' bullshit.

Or don't want to get groped at the airport.

Or want to legitimately protest what's going on.

Or....
Or...
Or..
Or.
Or
o

Re:Let's see the others (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 8 months ago | (#44721561)

Your place sounds even equally as bad...

Re:Let's see the others (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722943)

Your place sounds even equally as bad...

That's because his place is the USA, silly.

Re:Let's see the others (4, Informative)

jopsen (885607) | about 8 months ago | (#44722805)

Go ahead, convince us its better where you live.

Get real...
I live in Denmark, I have yet to hear about no-fly-lists, warrantless wiretapping exists only if
1) waiting for a court order would imply loss of opportunity, however, the case must be presented
before the courts within 24 hours.
2) we're in a state of war, then the minister of defense can with authorize warrantless wiretapping.

Source, answer by minister of justice (Danish):
http://www.ft.dk/samling/20101/almdel/reu/spm/381/svar/762713/928490/index.htm [www.ft.dk]?

I'm not familiar with any secret courts, and seriously doubt that the European Court of Human Rights,
to which my government answers, would look favorably upon secret courts.

Also I'm pretty sure the intelligence services don't have authority to kill people, not foreign citizen, not Danish citizens,
they don't even have the authority to help the American intelligence services commit murder, meaning sharing intelligence
that would lead to murder, is not allowed...

Looking a internet logging, the ISPs are required to log a lot of data, ie. every 20th session or so, by log I mean time and IPs not content.
However, these cannot be accessed without court order, and are held by the ISPs not the agencies that would want to query them.

Re:Let's see the others (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721205)

No one gives a flying fuck what you think you anti-social fuck. You're just pissed about Facebook because no one ever friended your cunt ass.
 
Keep sucking that Slashdot dick. Deep in your fucking throat..... begging for more of it.

Re:Let's see the others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721883)

Only unsavvy morons use Facebook.

Re:Let's see the others (2)

Zemran (3101) | about 8 months ago | (#44722195)

Nice logical argument. Well though out and eloquent. Have you thought about a career in journalism? Maybe with Fox news, I think they may be a bit high brow for you buy we like a challenge.

Re:Let's see the others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722463)

Tone it down, Mark.

Re:Let's see the others (2)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44721333)

Particularly Wastebook, stand up and do the same.

Does Facebook even HAVE data they promise not to share openly? I thought that was their business model.

Re:Let's see the others (3, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#44721383)

Particularly Wastebook, stand up and do the same.

Why? Facebook's whole business model is based around selling data to advertisers. If it costs more to sue the gov't than what they would be charging the government for that data (maybe they already are) then, from a business perspective, why would they sue them? From a PR perspective, they want push the point that sharing your personal data is just fine, so suing would also be contrary to that goal.

Does Facebook even HAVE data they promise not to share openly?

While I don't think they promise anything, they don't generally share all their data openly. They charge money for it. Sure, on an individual basis you can get a lot of data openly on somebody based on their "public" profile, but you'll need to pay them if you want all of it or want it in bulk.

To think Microsoft once ... (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#44720873)

requested the ability to treat Windows security bug reporters as being in league with terrorists by invoking the Patriot Act.

My head is spinning.

Re:To think Microsoft once ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44720947)

requested the ability to treat Windows security bug reporters as being in league with terrorists by invoking the Patriot Act.

My head is spinning.

Infact this is an almost exact model for this.

No court order should have an infinite time limit for disclosure. Perhaps a six month default with a 36 month max if they have a darn good reason. Renewal makes sense but not automated robot renewals. The case officer must make the case that the case is still active and progress is being made.

Like Anthony W....r you should only dangle your worm for a limited time and then to a very limited audience.

Re:To think Microsoft once ... (3, Interesting)

Curate (783077) | about 8 months ago | (#44721207)

requested the ability to treat Windows security bug reporters as being in league with terrorists by invoking the Patriot Act.

Citation?

Re:To think Microsoft once ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721323)

Put up or shut up. Citation requests are from lazy, weak minded individuals.

Re:To think Microsoft once ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722381)

Taking that attitude certainly makes one appear more credible.

Good for the goose... (5, Insightful)

mschaffer (97223) | about 8 months ago | (#44720897)

Why can't MS and Google publish "metadata" on the number of FISA requests and number of accounts requested?
If it is good for the goose, it's good for the gander.

Re:Good for the goose... (4, Insightful)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about 8 months ago | (#44720917)

Like when NSA letter was delivered, who delivered it, the 5 closest contacts of the deliverer, and deliverer's favorite TV series?

Re:Good for the goose... (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 8 months ago | (#44720967)

Why can't MS and Google publish "metadata" on the number of FISA requests and number of accounts requested?

That sounds like a good way to end up on Double Secret Probation.

Re:Good for the goose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722377)

Because in Todays America those with the most guns make the rules.

Though once the corps remember they have the most moeny they will soon have enough Large and well armed private armies to remind the politicians they depend on their sufference

Re:Good for the goose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722749)

If that were the case then "we the people" would be in control since the majority of Americans own guns whether it's registered or not. I WISH we could just flaunt our guns around and say "hey you people work for us right? so quit pretending that we work for you" and end it at that. Sadly, even suggesting the legal use of protesting with loaded firearms in front of the white house can easily land you in prison (or killed). It's sad that our rights as citizens have been taken away gradually and then suddenly the last shreds of freedom are being taken away as we speak. It's still perfectly legal to protest with guns however the government doesn't see it that way.

On /. none of us are lawyers... (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 8 months ago | (#44722843)

Why can't MS and Google publish "metadata" on the number of FISA requests and number of accounts requested? If it is good for the goose, it's good for the gander.

Agree... You can challenge a gag order by violating it and then if sued or subjected to criminal prosecution argue that the gag order was void.
In any event, Google and Microsoft should have done this before the Snowden revelations if they really wanted any credibility...

Too little, too late... (4, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | about 8 months ago | (#44720901)

Gee, thanx Microsoft and Google, for doing something..

Where were the Champions of Justice when these requests first started coming to you?
I see. It's different now that you've been exposed to the public as cooperating in all this.

Re:Too little, too late... (4, Insightful)

kqs (1038910) | about 8 months ago | (#44721039)

Google, at least, [zdnet.com] has been fighting this for a while. Probably Microsoft too.

You know, I often wonder why companies like Google even bother fighting for our privacy, when people like you are happy to whine and complain about them without looking into the facts. Why do they bother fighting the good fight when they know that no matter what they do, they'll be blamed and hated. Just think, your ignorance is helping the NSA and hurting Google and Microsoft. Bet you feel mighty proud.

The solution, as always, is knowledge. Know who to support. Know who to vote for. Know what to write your congresscritters. Learn, and always assume that there is something you don't know so you have to learn more, and look behind the curtains.

Re:Too little, too late... (3, Insightful)

markjhood2003 (779923) | about 8 months ago | (#44721491)

I often wonder why companies like Google even bother fighting for our privacy, when people like you are happy to whine and complain about them without looking into the facts.

I would think that most people, after looking at the facts, would conclude that neither Google nor Microsoft have any real concern about fighting for their users' privacy. Do you not have any recollection of Eric Schmidt's famous quote, "If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place"?

Google and Microsoft are effectively in the same business as the NSA. The only reason to have any sympathy for them is that instead of competing against another business, they are competing against the US government, which basically nationalized their data collection mechanisms for their own purposes.

Re:Too little, too late... (1)

kqs (1038910) | about 8 months ago | (#44721925)

I'm assuming that TFS reads differently in your world? But I agree, it's best to make up your mind before deciding which facts to ignore.

I'm assuming, from your quote of Eric Schmidt, that you disagree with him. In what way? If you don't want people knowing that you go it a DUI, for example, what do you suggest:

1) Passing laws forcing people to not talk about things you don't want them to talk about. Should work well with the Bill of Rights.
2) Use telepathy to remove the knowledge from peoples' brains.
3) Call a cab.

Really, now. Think, and take some responsibility for your actions.

Re:Too little, too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722043)

You are the one who needs to think.

Re:Too little, too late... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722253)

Sure, I have even better recollection of that quote.

Schmidt was asked, "People are treating Google like their most trusted friend. Should they be?" He replied: "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that information could be made available to the authorities."

Exactly what he was fucking warning you about, but twits like you cut it down to "Let them eat cake" to bitch about Schmidt and Google.

Re:Too little, too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722409)

'nationalized' but but thats Socialist and umAmerican Bubba!!

Re:Too little, too late... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44722925)

The audio, video, text trust in US encryption is gone. Global trust is the brands is gone. People will love the products but at a 'free' joke like level.
The data "in" will be spread over a few more distant groups and what the NSA can get will be more difficult.
People can expect to be hunted down 'before' 'during' and 'after' a protest organised via the US "brands" products.
The "before" part was always a bit of a mystery. Now cameras and legal staff will be waiting.

Re:Too little, too late... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721049)

Until it was exposed they were in a position that neither of them could even mention it publically. IT appears BOTH have been fighting it since well before it was exposed though.

Re:Too little, too late... (3)

gooman (709147) | about 8 months ago | (#44721223)

I understand your frustration, but I don't agree with your conclusion; It's not too little too late.

The subject needed to be burned into the global public consciousness before any effective action could be taken.
Granted they are mostly acting in self interest (protecting in their bottom line), they are corporations after all. Regardless, the battle against big government overreach will be very expensive, MS and Google have the funds, but they aren't going to spend it if they don't see the need or have the support.

My fear is that they will allow themselves to be bought off through some sort of government contract or protectionism (See, I'm cynical too).
However, both companies are global players and have seen push-back from foreign governments, so any sort of payoff would have to outweigh that.

This is a great development. Let's hope it reigns in some of this nonsense.

Re:Too little, too late... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 8 months ago | (#44722771)

Let's hope it reigns in some of this nonsense.

No! They are already trying to act as kings.

reigns: something a king or emperor does

reins: straps used to control horses and such

Reins would have been a better, or proper choice here.
English can be tricky, due in part by the multitude of homophones. :-)

Now the pedantry is out of the way, I have to give you a tip of hat for your comment.
With the trivial exception of 'reigns', you said it far better than I could have.

Re:Too little, too late... (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 8 months ago | (#44723653)

This is what needs to be done. The problem is I don't know how to be successful getting this types of laws passed:

We need to make it so that the government cannot request the data without a court order. The court order should be required to be put into public record within 48 hours of the data transfer. This gives the government enough time to deal with time sensitive arrests while preventing abuse since their actions will shortly be revealed to the public. We need to them make it illegal for corporations to share the data with the government without a aforementioned court order. All employees in charge of gathering the data must see the court order before sharing the data. Breaking these laws should cause all involved, both government officials and corporate employees/managers, to be arrested pending a trial and all data gathered to be useless for prosecution.

Thank you Edward Snowden (4, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 8 months ago | (#44720907)

I am not saying that this would not have happened without his revelations, but I suspect that the feelings of antipathy that he has helped to stir up about the NSA & government spying have given companies more courage in pushing harder to challenge these things. Maybe for fear of loosing users if they are seen to cave in too easily, maybe because they really do want to do the right thing and feel that the tide might turn and make the effort worth while.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44721021)

Maybe for fear of loosing users

Unintentionally insightful. They are indeed setting their users free... but I think it was Snowden that loosed us. Maybe Snowden loosed their courage, or maybe it was a freaked out "Oh, shit, we gotta do somethin'!"

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#44721099)

No. Think about it for a moment.

The NSA was within a hair's breadth of creating the most impressive cloud based uber-backup / social networking / information-wants-to-be-everywhere system ever devised. Had they had the sense to market it instead of hide it, people would have been all over themselves to sign up.

Google and Microsoft have belatedly figured out that they're competing with the US Government. They didn't like that at all.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 8 months ago | (#44721507)

So what you're saying is that Mark Zuckerberg is head of the NSA?

That probably would have been the easier route for the NSA.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44722873)

Yes a nice internal "telco" like splitter at the clear text adversing plain text end.
Nobody would have ever known. The sockpuppets on Slashdot could have posted citation needed for years.
The internal legal teams would have been unaware, the staff just seeing 'contractors' at another door outside their pay grade.
Why did the big brands in the USA risk all? What made then roll over vs the trust as global .com brands?

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (2)

stooo (2202012) | about 8 months ago | (#44722891)

>> So what you're saying is that Mark Zuckerberg is head of the NSA?

No. Mark zuckerberg is not the Head of the NSA. He is the head of the voluntary data collection department of the NSA.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723033)

His revelations are nothing new. People that were informed knew about this for a very long time now but we were all treated as crazy idiots that gets info from faux news etc... Truth be told, it started by Republicans a long time ago and it was admired and loved by democrats and libs a like. Obama has just taken steps to make it far worse than it ever was and Bush had already made it pretty bad before. But, thanks to Snowden, a lot of people woke up and learned that the government is not that great as it says it is. So yes, thank you Snowden for being the trigger of what may be WW3.

Who will buy it ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44720919)

It's obviously a simulated lawsuit.

Re:Who will buy it ? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44722913)

The same people with US trust funds, scholarships, shares, pensions and telco/hardware/software/web 2.0 political connections.
Their parents or they bought into or made millions at a staff or contractor or software level from the big US brands.
They need to believe that the encryption IS safe, the product sold world wide IS safe, the ads ARE lucrative, that the brand, logo and "coded in the USA' IS a global winner.
Not that their pension/shares/job/resume/are contracting for/blog about/sockpuppet for a US gov wired ENIGMA box and the rest of the world just found out.

Just these two companies? (4, Insightful)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#44720923)

I can think of more than a few other very large companies, who through the nature of the business they conduct, should be joining Microsoft and Google. This is a good start, but it would be nice to see a whole bunch of companies gang up on the government over this. It might also help the little guys stand up.

Metadata (4, Funny)

Redbaran (918344) | about 8 months ago | (#44720927)

Come on government, it's just metadata about your requests, what's the big deal?

Could be a win-win... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 8 months ago | (#44720957)

Now that the cat is out of the bag anyhow, everyone could be happy about metadata reporting;

Joe User will be happy that "only" x-thousands of users have info turned over out of x-millions of accounts - "what are the odds it's my account?"
Joe G-Man will be happy that "only" x-thousands of users have info turned over out of x-millions of accounts - "See, we are just doing focused investigations."
Joe Jihad will be happy that "only" x-thousands of users have info turned over out of x-millions of accounts - "what are the odds it's my account?"

Strong enough to challenge (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44720995)

but I fully expect their challenge to be sufficiently weak enough to reach a judgment and fail. The US Government needs this challenge and judgment for appearances that everything is legal.

Re:Strong enough to challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722173)

Exactly. This is just an attempt by two big boys to save fave in the midst of world-wide fallout and losses. The silly request to excercise their first ammendment rights is almost like they are inviting the governement a chance to say that they can't. This way they can tell customers that they wish they could but....

Pffff (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721035)

Lest anyone believe the two aforementioned companies are doing this out of the goodness of their heart . . . .

The ONLY reason they're doing it is because they're bleeding customers due to the ever increasing lack of trust.

Re:Pffff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722477)

You're saying that the profit motive is leading them to do a good thing.

They're corporations (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about 8 months ago | (#44721079)

They are artificial legal constructs, they have no rights

Re:They're corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721291)

they can donate money to politics therefor they have some rights!

Re:They're corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721439)

Neither does the government.

FISA is a secret (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#44721093)

Didn't Microsoft and Google get the memo? Everything involving FISA is maximum top secret, not even congress is allowed to know what the FISA court does.

Need more than just totals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721133)

Also publish the names and badge numbers of the agents making the requests. They may then be less likely to go on fishing expeditions unless there is a damn good reason. Don't publish what they are looking for - just who is looking.

1 in 6 (1)

eric31415927 (861917) | about 8 months ago | (#44721147)

I made up the statistic of course, but I wonder how many people the feds are going after. If it is an absurdly high number such as one sixth of Google's userbase, then we should pester our politicians to get this thing changed. If Google is prevented from disclosing the information, then we might as well assume it is at least a number so high that it embarrasses the government du jour.

Corporations have protected speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721159)

As the SCOTUS ruled corporations have first amendment rights. If those can be stretched to allow for corporations to donate to political campaigns, then they would obviously apply in this case.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721409)

Even if they publish metadata on FISA requests, as an individual you still won't know if your account was targeted, only the total number of requests made over the course of the year, etc. A lot of users including me are looking to get off of Gmail or other U.S. based e-mail providers. In my book they can go to hell, your data is not safe with them. They have lost my trust, I have initiated conversations with my friends about it and they also seem to share my concerns and are open to ditching Gmail.

Diagnose: TPM. Mircosoft is a cancer (0)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#44721417)

Spreading through their interests and lobbyists, from government and its nets, to your PC at home.
But y'all seem to want it.
Well then.

just more pr. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721475)

google and ms pretend to be the voice of their customers. you know the drill.

Re:just more pr. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722111)

Microsoft and the government co-deploy the data centers used to do this. This is a pr move from the ground up.

Alternative solution (3, Interesting)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44721553)

An alternative solution: first break the gag order, then wait for government attacking in court, and then defend. Attacking for the right to speak seems a looser's position.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 8 months ago | (#44722215)

That's really risky though, because in many cases where the law is controversial, the courts will just go with applying the law exactly as it is written. Since they'd have broken the law, they'd be guilty and that'd be it.

They'd need to break the law, drum up enough attention to themselves to cause a fuss and get a judge who'd actually want to open Pandora's Box. That's a lot of requirements. By going more carefully around it, they risk less. It's less good for consumers, because if they lose they might not keep fighting, but it's a much more logical thing to do from a business standpoint.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44722251)

That's really risky though, because in many cases where the law is controversial, the courts will just go with applying the law exactly as it is written.

That is the point. If you believe the gag order is unconstitutional, break it, get sued, and ask the court to apply the constitution (which trumps the law) as it is written.

Observing the law first means you believe it may stand. That makes your position rather weak.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#44722491)

That's a fine position to take when you are an armchair commentator not risking years in prison (regardless of whether a potential conviction and/or years of appeals stand). If people were actually innocent until proven guilty under a Constitutionally approved law that might be a position someone might take, but that's not the case, and few people (I assume including you) are truly ready to sacrifice their life for a cause like this...

Re:Alternative solution (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44722803)

I am not a billion-worth transnational corporation. I cannot afford the lawyers to fight this case, nor I can pay the bonds to remain out of prison during the trial. They can.

Since US justice got completely unfair regarding the indicted's wealth, there is some moral duty for however can afford to get landmark ruling to take the risk for it.

But moral duties is not increasing shareholder's profits, hence it is an alien concept for a mega corporation. This is why they are going toward this minimal service path: they just do PR.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44722879)

A telco tried that http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-story-of-joseph-nacchio-and-the-nsa-2013-6 [businessinsider.com.au]
US federal courts are very tame, mix in a legal team that might need a security clearance and its a hard defend.

Re:Alternative solution (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44723121)

But the TFA says he is not in prison for breaking a gag order, or for refusing NSA plans, but for insider trading...

Re:Alternative solution (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44723219)

Today's Fun Article was commenting on a version of the "first break the gag order, then wait for government attacking in court, and then defend" mentioned in the "Alternative solution".
The defence team did bring up aspects of the NSA's domestic surveillance program.
You also have a mention of FBI, CIA, and .... DEA - something that seems to be news in 2013.
You can read more at http://cryptome.org/mayer-016.pdf [cryptome.org] eg
"... May 11, 2006, that the NSA has engaged in a continuing program of intelligence gathering directed against U.S. telephone subscribers of ...."
The Total Information Awareness program is also mentioned and issues that surround warrant or subpoena needs and the United States telephone network. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAINWAY [wikipedia.org] may make interesting reading too. (Warning: link may contain classified data: ensure unclassified work computer is clean)

edward says what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721669)

So i guess the discussion on weather his leak or not was worthwhile is over eh?

For those that did not know the internet was engineered this way,.. you do now!

-Now kids, how do we engineer the next gen of Internets? Will we let google & microsoft do it, or will we abandon such services & use open technologies?
The cloud is a trap, the easy path is not the best path!

 

I'd be more impressed (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 8 months ago | (#44721671)

I'd be more impressed if they actually fought the demands for the customer data in the first place rather than wanting to disclose a few non-specific details about how they complied with them.

Does not matter anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721691)

If you don't want to lose customers than architect your systems accordingly such that customers data remains private and secure even if transferred to third party systems.

Stop intentionally designing everything so that it is depends on and is controlled by your servers.

For example if you want people to use windows phone don't make the only way to control periodic uploading of location to a Microsoft server a configuration option you set on a Microsoft web site.

Google and Microsoft deserve all of the backlash they have coming as far as I'm concerned.

Skype + Cloud print (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721707)

Call me cynical, but it's worth reminding people:

Skype accesses your /etc/passwd password files if your run it on Linux:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=548898
(And also your mozilla bookmarks)

Google cloud print receives everything you print to your printer and yet they don't list it in your privacy control panel as things they know about you.
Likewise they know every site you visit if you logged into any Google service, and the site has adsense or Google's stats (that's most sites) and they don't list those sites either.

Neither company can be trusted to tell the whole story here, neither is a beacon of honesty.

Re:Skype + Cloud print (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722443)

Only if you're silly enough to install their RPM as root, which I have never done, and never will.

Use the tarball, put the extracted binaries in ~someuser/bin, and run it as someuser, with only the minimal privileges necessary, then let it have all the fun it wants, trying all day to access your /etc/passwd.

It also pays to become friends with setuid.

Frost p1st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44721797)

munches the most [tuxedo.org], arseh0les at Walnut the above is far Discussion I'm

When Defense Become Offense (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722139)

Google, Microsoft and the plethora of others including ATT, Verizon (and all telcos in the USA in particular), Amazon, Apple, Wall-Mart, Sears, Pennys, Staples, OfficeMax (and all other online e-talors), Yahoo, AOL ... the list just keep going on an on and on.

Lets get real simple.

NSA pays each of the above for access to transmissions! Ah Ha. Transmissions. A transaction by "electronic communications". Meta-Data, time-of-flight data, and the actual voice or keystrokes data.

So, all the above are given money, USA taxpayer money, from the NSA, with the USA Department of Treasury blessing, for this 'data'.

This means that NSA (as well as others) IS a Federal Government Agency subsidizing these corporate Companies and at every growing rates and with TAX DOLLARS from the legal citizens of the U.S.A.!

What Tangible or Intangible product is being delivered to the legal citizens of the U.S.A. for the theft of their personal information and identity.

NOTHING!

NSA+CIA+NGA+DIA (Treasury and FBI and DEA and ATF) and not to forget our most beloved "intelligence agency" the Department of HomeLand Security" and its 'National Gropers Agency' the Transportation Security Agency the 'Pistol' lap dog of Janet "Ass As Big As A Planet" Napolitano who is orbiting many universities of the U.S.A. and is desperately seeking a safe landing but not getting any love, pity pity, will not be TIMES MAN OF THE YEAR, hardy har har, this year. Good riddance Janet Planet and all of your ilk in the Federal G'ub'erment Obama Reich.

Napalm, the smell of napalm.

Do you smell the smell of napalm Janet ... Do you? Its coming for you.

Kissy kissy.

Eggs and backy.

3

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722237)

If this is really happening, it may be because executives and/or board members are getting threatened from many angles. Or, they are simply trying to save face with the public, while they continue to work with federal globalist.

Re:Maybe (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44722889)

The US gov knows what you did last IPO. What was a great moment in capitalism might just get 'reviewed' years later by an understaffed, underfunded, legally powerless gov entity.
For the first time ever they might have amazing funding, smart staff, real subpoenas, global extradition support and strangely US press backing.

This can't be right. (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 8 months ago | (#44722341)

Beginning January, 2009, the United States Government became fully transparent. They promised!

US Gov lead by BO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722375)

First they elect the Obamanation then they ignore he's the one in charge . American liberals and there companies too are in denial of reaping what they sowed.

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