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Google Stands Against Gag Orders By FISA Courts

Although the U.S. government has long been legally asking different companies to divulge data, these companies are usually bound by FISA courts not to reveal the details of such requests. Google has now filed a motion against such gag orders, invoking the First Amendment.


Google

First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. Google has cited the First Amendment because it has framed its argument within the scope of freedom of speech, citing how gag orders essentially violate citizens’ constitutional rights.

The timing of the motion is quite interesting. In recent days, we have seen a number of tech companies trying to reveal as much details as possible about the government requests they have received. First, Microsoft and Facebook decided to divulge the details of such data requests. Next in line was Yahoo and finally, Apple also revealed the exact number of such requests.

However, none of these companies could reveal the exact number of data requests that they had received through FISA courts. That’s because the courts barred the companies from revealing these details. In the past few days, federal officials and representatives of internet companies have been in talks. Internet companies essentially want more transparency in the government data requests while federal officials are reluctant to allow that.

According to the motion filed by Google, “Google’s users are concerned about the allegations. Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities.” Given the increased pressure on the authorities over the PRISM leaks, one hopes that Google emerges victorious out of this showdown.

Courtesy: Washington Post

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