Feeds

Web giants cry foul over US gov's refusal to budge on NSA spy gag orders

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook must keep because REDACTED

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Facebook are still fighting for permission to warn people who are under online surveillance, after their campaign for transparency was derailed by the US Department of Justice.

The web giants had asked the DoJ to lift restrictions on alerting users when they are being snooped on by intelligence agencies, as notifying those folks is banned by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

But the department refused the request and heavily redacted a document explaining why that ruling was made – which rather impedes the web companies in mounting an appeal against the thinking behind the decision.

According to an appeal filed by the firms yesterday, the DOJ provided a written notification of the ruling, but nearly every word of its justification for the decision was censored due to national security concerns.

"Unless the government reconsiders its refusal to accommodate the providers' legitimate need to understand the basis for the government's response, the providers respectfully request that this Court strike the redacted version of the government's brief and supporting declaration," the companies said in their filing [PDF].

The censored DoJ ruling, issued in late September, turned down a request from the internet titans that they be allowed to disclose additional information to their customers when a government agency has issued a demand for personal records under FISA.

The vendors launched their appeal in hopes of easing FISA rules and gaining more freedom to notify their customers and begin to quell some of the user outrage which arose when revelations surfaced of the extent to which the NSA and GCHQ have been spying on the online activities of citizens.

The companies are now pushing for any number of scenarios to scrutinize the DoJ's justification, ranging from temporary security clearances for their representatives to the use of a third-party moderator who could review and relay select information from the redacted portions of the report. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?