Security agencies as well as other entities are increasingly eager to lay their hands on the information of users stored with different web-based companies, including Google. The good thing about Google is that it dished out Transparency reports to let us know the extent of such requests. The search giant has divulged how many times FBI has reached out to access such data.
FBI essentially uses ‘National Security Letters’ to gain access to such information. NSLs are tricky business because in the past, FBI has been accused of misusing them since they come with no judicial oversight. Moreover, FBI is able to get unwarranted access to the finances and communications of Americans simply by issuing these letters.
Apparently, Google has also been receiving a lot of NSLs from the security agency. Google has now unveiled the range of these requests from FBI ever since 2009. Although the search giant didn’t reveal the exact numbers, it has stated that every year since 2009, it has received 0 – 999 NSLs from FBI in order to access the user data available with Google.
Even when Google has only provided a broad range, it is quite obvious that the actual number would be more inclined towards the upper limit. Interestingly, Google mentions that FBI has the authority to prohibit companies from talking about these letters, which is rather preposterous. However, Google has apparently struck some kind of agreement with FBI according to which, it will be able to dish out some general statistics regarding these requests in its Transparency reports.