10 Sep 2013
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Facebook, Google & Microsoft launch govt privacy petitions

By Sean Mitchell

Tech giants Facebook, Google and Microsoft have released statements requesting greater transparency when it comes to gathering public data.

Submitting the requests to the US government, the companies have strongly denied any involved in operation PRISM, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in July.

"Google has worked tremendously hard over the past fifteen years to earn our users’ trust," said an official company statement.

"We have always made clear that we comply with valid legal requests."

Following Google's lead, Facebook's general counsel Ted Ullyot released the following:

"As Mark [Zuckerberg] said last week, we strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe.

"In the past, we have questioned the value of releasing a transparency report that, because of exactly these types of government restrictions on disclosure, is necessarily incomplete and therefore potentially misleading to users.

"We would welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond.

"We urge the United States government to help make that possible by allowing companies to include information about the size and scope of national security requests we receive, and look forward to publishing a report that includes that information."

Microsoft added their name to the mix also, telling Reuters:

"Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues."

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