Google Petitions Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to Disclose Number of Government Data Requests

In an effort to offer Internet users some transparency and to deflect negative attention from recent revelations that big companies have been sharing user data with the government via the National Security Agency's (NSA) PRISM program, Google is seeking permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reveal detailed information about the amount of national security requests it receives, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The sultan of search filed a motion this week seeking "declaratory judgment" that the 1st Amendment gives it and other tech companies the right provide users detailed information about national security requests, and also to reveal how many of its users are affected by those numbers.

Google Data Center

"Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegations," the filing reads. "Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities."

Google and eight other tech companies came under scrutiny when leaked slides of the NSA's super secret PRISM program came to light. The program, which costs taxpayers $20 million per year, allows the U.S. government to harvest a wide variety of user data, including Skype logs, emails, videos, photographs, cell phone records, and much more.