Google formally requested permission from the Department of Justice on Thursday to publicly disclose the scope and precise number of FISA user data requests it had received from the government.
The tech giant Google has published annual transparency reports detailing the scope and frequency of data requests from law enforcement agencies. Because of FISA regulations, however, Google is legally barred from revealing the details of specific requests or the precise number of requests they’ve received from the government. The company has attempted to circumvent this restriction in their reports by citing the approximate numerical range of requests received.
Google has been subject to intense criticism since details emerged Thursday of the company’s participation in a far-reaching internet surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency that involved Silicon Valley’s biggest players.
In a statement, Google’s CEO Larry Page insisted the company had never been involved in any program that granted the NSA “direct access” to Google’s server’s, as leaked NSA slides on the PRISM program alleged.