More transparency: Microsoft not satisfied with government’s new security request plan

NSA headquarters.

NSA headquarters.

Back when the NSA’s snooping practices were revealed in June, Microsoft joined fellow tech giants Google and Facebook in asking the U.S. government for more transparency in regard to government requests for national security information.

Late Thursday, the government responded with a plan to release annual reports detailing its requests for customer security data.

Microsoft, however, isn’t satisfied and plans to continue pursuing a lawsuit against the government. In a blog post written today, Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith outlined the company’s stance on the matter.

“The Government’s decision represents a good start,” he wrote. “But the public deserves and the Constitution guarantees more than this first step.”

microsoft-building99Smith said that the company believes it has the right to share more information with the public and is worried about the government’s “continued unwillingness to permit us to publish sufficient data relating to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders.”

The government plans to publish requests issued under FISA, as well as its use of National Security Letters. But Microsoft wants to share much more detailed information, and believes it has the right to do so in a way that would not put the country’s security at risk.

“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 wrote. “These figures should be published in a form that is distinct from the number of demands that capture only metadata such as the subscriber information associated with a particular email address.”