The Department of Justice is asking the U.S. government’s spy court to reject pleas from U.S. tech firms to be able publish the number of user data requests they receive from the nation’s intelligence agencies.
The DOJ argued in a brief filed on Monday with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — also known as the FISC, or the FISA Court — that the information made available from the companies would be “invaluable to our adversaries.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. government could publish the number of total surveillance requests it makes annually, but more detailed information on a company-by-company basis would harm national security.
In August, Clapper announced that he would release an annual transparency report detailing the total number of legal orders given per year and the amount of targets affected by the orders.
In July, the firms began petitioning the federal government in earnest for a government surveillance transparency report, following the initial revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The affected Internet and technology companies, including Google and Facebook, worry that Snowden’s disclosures have harmed U.S. business interests due to a loss of user trust in the companies.