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Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft are fighting government gag orders

As it stands now, tech companies can’t disclose exact figures on how many national security-related user data requests they’ve received from the US Government. A group of major tech companies aren’t happy about the current state of affairs, however, so they’ve decided to do something about it. According to a report from the Washington Post, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo have filed papers with the 9th Circuit Court arguing against ongoing gag orders the Government has put in place to guard against disclosure of these data requests. 

Court documents unsealed Friday show Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft are arguing  that government gag orders that stop them from disclosing the number of national security requests they receive violate the companies’ First Amendment right to free speech. Leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that revealed how the government uses tech firms in its surveillance efforts have damaged their bottom lines and public reputations — particularly overseas. The companies have begun to push back against some government orders to stay silent. The gag orders, called “national security letters,” compel Web and telecommunication companies to share information with the government while simultaneously prohibiting them from speaking about the request. Since the Snowden leaks, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft have fought to include more information about national security requests in regular reports they release on how much data the government requests from their servers.

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Written by Rocco Penn

A tech blogger, social media analyst, and general promoter of all things positive in the world. "Bring it. I'm ready." Find me on Media Caffeine, Twitter, and Facebook.

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