Following Google’s lead, Microsoft and Facebook on Tuesday said they also have asked the U.S. government to allow them to disclose the security requests they receive for handing over user data, the BBC reported.
The move comes after reports in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper said that the National Security Agency had direct access to the servers of nine major tech firms, including Google, Microsoft and Apple.
Google said the claims were “untrue,” but added that nondisclosure rules of such requests “fuel that speculation.”
Google said its chief legal officer, David Drummond, has written to the U.S. attorney general seeking permission to publish “aggregate numbers of national security requests, including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) disclosures — in terms of both the number we receive and their scope.”
“Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide,” he said in the letter.
Microsoft told the Reuters news agency that it also had wanted permission to release the requests because “permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including FISA orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues.”
Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s general counsel, said the social networking leader wants to provide “a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond.”