The search giant has submitted a motion to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, asking it to lift a gag order that prohibits Google from disclosing the number of requests the company receives each year under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In a copy of the filing obtained by Wired (PDF), Google says it has a right under the First Amendment to release the totals.
The company sent an open letter to the Justice Department last week requesting the ability to disclose FISA requests, but today’s filing underscores the inability of the two parties were unable to reach an agreement.
Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have published statistics of the requests for data that they receive, but did not differentiate between requests made for criminal investigations and requests submitted under FISA.
In a statement yesterday, Google claimed disclosures following that model were too vague, saying: “Lumping the two categories together would be a step back for users.”
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.