Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Yahoo Release Information On NSA Data Collection

LinkedIn became the latest social network to release the amount of data the company turned over to the National Security Agency, following public announcements made by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo Monday related to the NSA's Prism effort.

The 0 to 249 LinkedIn requests made by the NSA, impacting between 0 and 249 accounts between January and June 2013, pales in comparison to the amount some companies report, but it signals a new reporting policy agreed on last week -- terms the Justice Department negotiated to end the transparency lawsuit by the companies.

While it allows companies to reveal some information, it prevents them from itemizing the list of data collection information beyond anything generic. The companies also must wait six months to disclose information on the most recent requests required by FISA court orders.



"Last year we filed a lawsuit asking the FISA Court to let us disclose the number of FISA requests we may receive and how many users/accounts they include," Richard Salgado, Google legal director, law enforcement and information security, explains in a blog post. "We'd previously secured permission to publish information about National Security Letters, and FISA requests were the only remaining type of demands excluded from our report."

Google revealed that it had received content data requests for between 9,000 and 9,000 user accounts -- down from between 12,000 and 12,999 in the prior six months -- while Facebook said it turned over content data from between 5,000 and 5,999 accounts during the same time, and customer metadata associated with up to 999 accounts.

Microsoft received fewer than 1,000 orders for content during the first six months in 2013, between 15,000 and 15,999 individuals. It also received fewer than 1,000 orders for metadata that reveal communication patterns rather than individual message content.

Yahoo disclosed that it gave the U.S. government information on between 30,000 and 30,999 accounts during the same time period, and fewer than 1,000 customer accounts that were subject to court orders for metadata. A post by Ron Bell, Yahoo general counsel, and Aaron Altschuler, associate general counsel, law enforcement and security, also explain the requests and legal process.

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  1. Emmanuel Njoku from Global Electronics Network , February 11, 2014 at 7:16 p.m.

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