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Google Seeks Release From Federal Gag Order on Data Requests

Image: Google Seeks Release From Federal Gag Order on Data Requests (AP)

By Andrea Billups   |   Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 05:14 PM

In the wake of the NSA spying scandal, online powerhouse Google is challenging gag orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, citing the First Amendment over its right to release information requests it receives from the federal government.

In a legal filing on Tuesday, Google wants more freedom to explain to the public what information it has released to the government. The high-tech giant is among nine companies who have contributed information to the secret data-collecting program PRISM, which has come to light amid leaks to the media by federal contractor Edward Snowden.

Google petitioned the court, which is largely secretive, to allow it to release information on what government requests it has fulfilled, The Washington Post reported.

The petition also seeks the release of the number of Google user accounts that have been impacted by the demand for data, not only from U.S. officials but from other governments around the world, the Post reported.

Google previously issued a statement assuring the federal government had no "back door" or open access to its servers, TechCrunch.com reported.

The company and others like it walk a fine line between protecting privacy and acquiescing to government demand for security information. The FISA Court in Washington, D.C., is comprised of 11 federal judges, all whom have been appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

NSA and FBI leaders defended the surveillance program on Tuesday before a Congressional committee, noting the intervention had previously stopped a planned attack on the New York Stock Exchange and on the city's subway system, CBS News reported.


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In the wake of the NSA spying scandal, online powerhouse Google is challenging gag orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, citing the First Amendment over its right to release information requests it receives from the federal government.
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