Internet companies push for NSA data-request transparency

Time reports: The largest Internet companies in the U.S. are preparing for a showdown with the U.S. government over their campaign to be more transparent about national-security-data requests. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn have until Oct. 21 to file a brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) after the Department of Justice formally opposed their request to disclose statistics about the nature and scope of government requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The impending FISC showdown comes as U.S. lawmakers are weighing two bills that would give the companies the right to publish basic statistics about the government’s national-security-data demands. Since the initial revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs were published in June — thanks to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — the tech titans have been waging a battle to be more transparent about such data requests in an effort to demonstrate that they are not serving as NSA stooges.

The companies have repeatedly argued that their inability to be more transparent with the public undermines user trust, which in turn could have adverse consequences for their businesses.

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