CDT Supports Internet Companies Uniting to Demand Transparency from FISA Court
Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo! today are filing legal motions arguing for their First Amendment right to engage in detailed transparency reporting about how many different types of surveillance demands they receive under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Google and Microsoft are filing updated versions of their previous motions with the secretive FISA Court, while Facebook and Yahoo! are for the first time asking the court for permission to engage in transparency reporting around FISA surveillance. The Center for Democracy & Technology, joined by a coalition of free speech organizations, previously filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the original Google and Microsoft motions.
"Today’s motions from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo!—like the joint letter organized by the Center of Democracy & Technology that those companies signed—press for the companies’ right to publish the number of specific types of FISA requests that each company receives. This is an important right for the companies to assert as they work to maintain their users' trust in the face of continuing revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance of the Internet," said CDT’s Free Expression Director Kevin Bankston. "Our joint letter was addressed to the Obama Administration and to Congress, and our coalition of Internet companies and free speech advocates will continue to press those branches of government for action around transparency reporting. However, today’s filings open a third major front in the battle for surveillance transparency, and we look forward to supporting these Internet companies as they push for the right to be more open with their users about what they do—and don’t do—when the government asks for their users’ data."