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Google, Facebook, Microsoft seek privacy points by asking permission to disclose data requests

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Google (s goog) sent a letter to FBI head Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday requesting permission to disclose the number of times the federal government requests data on national security grounds, according to a blog post. Facebook (s fb) and Microsoft (s msft) have followed suit.

For now, the companies are prohibited from releasing such information.

It’s clearly a PR offensive on behalf of the web and software giants, hoping to distance themselves from revelations that the three companies and others have participated in the FBI and National Security Agency’s PRISM program first reported last week.

It’s still unclear just how the program gained access to external data and what participating companies have done to enable this sort of access. But regardless of that, the perception of complicity is something Google and the rest must fight. Whether or not the federal government complies with requests for more transparency almost doesn’t matter. The companies need to at least look like they want to shed light on their involvement and the extent of the data mining. And the letters achieve that goal.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user ARTSILENSE.

4 Responses to “Google, Facebook, Microsoft seek privacy points by asking permission to disclose data requests”

  1. Justin

    Not to be devil’s advocate or anything… but you ever hear of NDAs?
    Would the government be capable of levying such a concept on these companies.

    In this situation, the groups would be doing as told.
    Ensuring non-disclosure.

    I appreciate the request to reveal these instances, but I hardly expect anyone to be authorized to provide a full picture.

  2. Gargi Banerjee

    I am quite surprised that users still have doubts about their data being shared and accessed by companies. So far, perhaps this was restricted to the public profiles and items we endorse, and activities we engage in. Advertisements are tailored and displayed keeping in mind the audience’s preferences gathered from their social virtual presence. It is the natural progression to take the next step as marketing gets more aggressive.

    Anything shared online should be done responsibly – remember somebody’s watching you. You only want to share as much as you want this stranger to know, and you know it wouldn’t hurt if the information was shared.

    Gargi B.

    • And google used to say, “do no evil”, lol. Who are they kidding? Snowden never had a chance against the liberal propaganda machine that’s trained to defend Obama at every chance. Soon, there will be rape allegations, child porn charges and all kinds of things to attack his credibility. They’ll continue to slay him in the state run media and then his body will be found at the bottom of a swamp years from now after no one cares anymore. They are already calling Mr. Snowden a traitor NOW:

      Why do these democrat liberals worship Obama when they know what he is doing? Don’t they know the hell on earth that he is creating for them? Is BHO this great anointed liberal messiah that the democrats heralded as the answer to G.W. Bush or the evil destroyer that is spoken about in the ledgends and religions of the world? No one knows where was born, how he rose to power over night having never been heard of before. No one knows what god Barack HUSSEIN Obama follows as he fills the sky with domestic drones that can see and hear every thing you do while connected into every computer network you even come close to and recording your every move. Guess who controlled all of these networks during the presidential election? It’s too late to turn the clock back now and you’ll never be able to vote him out again:

      Do you think that there will ever be another election in 2016? BHO already has you just where he wants and the liberal socialists will just blindly trumpet his glory like sheep as this land of freedom is crushed under the boot of a world wide caliphate with BHO as the supreme leader. Get your knee pads ready so you can face the right way when you kneel, pray and feel him enter you from behind.