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Monday, February 03, 2014
Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft Disclose NSA Requests Received


Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft on Monday released new data about the national security requests they have received.

The updates follow the new rules the companies agreed with the US government, which allow each commpany to provide how Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests for member data it's received, the number of accounts impacted, and the percentage that they respond to.

Under FISA, the U.S. government may apply for orders from a special FISA Court to require U.S. companies to hand over users' personal information and the content of their communications.

However, in all of these cases, the tech companies are still limited to providing data but only in bands of 1,000 -- ranges beginning with zero and extending to the potential hundreds or thousands, rather than offering specific figures.

Facebook said that within the last six months of 2012, only a small fraction of one percent of its users were the target of any government data requests. In the first half of 2013, the company said it received FISA content requests for between 5,000 to 5,999 members' accounts.

LinkedIn, for the first six months of 2013, received "between 0 and 249" national security-related requests.

Microsoft says that during the same time period, it received 0-999 FISA orders seeking content from 15,000-15,999 accounts. At the same time, it received less than 1,000 FISA orders for "non-content" data for less than 1,000 accounts.

Microsoft also became the first technology company to publicly call out President Barack Obama for not doing enough to reform government snooping practices.

"Despite the President's reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, wrote in a blog post. "We believe the Constitution requires that our government seek information from American companies within the rule of law."

Yahoo 's updated global transparency report shows that the number of accounts requested by governments amounted to less than "one one-hundredth of one percent" of its worldwide user base for the reporting period. Yahoo said between 30,000 and 30,999 of accounts received FISA requests for content, which it said could include words in an email or instant message, photos on its Flickr photo-sharing service and address book or calendar entries.

Google has received less than 1,000 requests for national security or content from governments from January 2009 to June 2013.




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