Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) and a broad group of civil liberties advocates and companies sent a letter to the U.S. Government demanded that Internet companies be allowed greater transparency to disclose the government's requests for data about consumers and online users. The EFF announcement stated, in part:
"... no company has been allowed to reveal to users or in transparency reports complete information about National Security Letters, Section 702 FISA requests, and Section 215 business records requests."
The companies want to be able to share the following data elements about the above types of requests by the government:
- the number of requests the provider has received
- the number of users or accounts affected by the requests, and
- the number of times the provider contested the request.
The letter was sent to the President, senior executives in the intelligence community, the Justice Department, and leaders in the both the House of Representatives and Senate. Some of the associations and civil liberties advocacy groups that signed the letter include the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Center For Effective Government, FreedomWorks, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders. Some of the Internet companies that signed the letter include Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo.