Google has reportedly asked the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to publish data pertaining to requests made by National Security Agency (NSA).
According to a report in the New York Times, Google last week wrote to the director of the FBI and the director of national intelligence, also asking for permission.
These actions appear to be a reaction to revelations about government Internet surveillance and the part played by companies like Google in disclosing their records to the NSA.
The law, according to the New York Times, states that companies are not allowed to acknowledge the existence of national security requests. However, in the last few days Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple have all published the numbers of national security and criminal requests, with permission from government.
Google, which already publishes the numbers of requests, broken out by type, has not done so. The motion to the secret court argues that Google has a First Amendment right to publish a range of the total number of requests and the number of users or accounts they cover.
“Google’s reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google’s users are concerned by the allegations,” the motion says.
“Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities.”