The Washington Post reports: Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests the court makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government.
The legal filing, which invokes the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about far-reaching National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic.
Revelations about the program, called PRISM, have opened fissures between U.S. officials and the involved companies, which have scrambled to reassure their users without violating strict rules against disclosing information that the government has classified as top-secret.
A high-profile legal showdown might help Google’s efforts to portray itself as aggressively resisting government surveillance, and a victory could bolster the company’s campaign to portray government surveillance requests as targeted narrowly and affecting only a small number of users. [Continue reading…]