Quantcast
Latest Stories

Facebook, Microsoft bare US data requests



WASHINGTON—Internet giants Facebook and Microsoft say they received thousands of requests for data from US authorities last year but are prohibited from disclosing how many related to national security.

The two companies have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of a vast, covert Internet surveillance program US authorities insist targets only foreign terror suspects and has helped thwart attacks.

Facebook said Friday it had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data affecting 18,000 to 19,000 accounts during the second half of last year, while Microsoft said it had received 6,000 to 7,000 requests affecting 31,000 to 32,000 accounts during the same period.

But those requests include criminal warrants, subpoenas and other orders, and both firms said they were prohibited by law from listing a separate tally for security-related requests or secret court orders concerning terror probes.

Release applauded

The Center for Democracy & Technology applauded the release as an “important step” but urged the government to allow the companies to release further details.

“We welcome this new information and thank Microsoft and Facebook for it, and will also continue to press for more information,” the Internet freedom group’s senior counsel Kevin Bankston said in a statement.

“We call on the Justice Department to allow such transparency reporting now, and for Congress to update the law to guarantee the right to engage in such reporting in the future, and we hope that the entire Internet and telecommunications industry will join us in that push.”

Microsoft’s deputy general counsel John Frank acknowledged that “what we are permitted to publish continues to fall short of what is needed to help the community understand and debate these issues.”

The orders, which could only be disclosed in increments of 1,000, affect just a “tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base,” he added.

‘Not all requests complied with’

Facebook’s general counsel Ted Ullyot insisted the popular social network with over a billion members had “aggressively” protected users’ privacy and had not complied with all the requests.

“We frequently reject such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested. And we respond only as required by law,” he said.

Google, which already publishes a “Transparency Report” on such requests, has, meanwhile, asked the FBI and US Justice Department for permission to release separate tallies related to security probes, saying it has “nothing to hide.”

Major Internet firms have faced a public backlash since government contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM, a vast program that saw nine companies turn over user data to the US National Security Agency.

Leaked details of the program—first published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post—have reignited debate over the trade-offs between privacy and security more than a decade after the September 11 attacks.

Apple, Yahoo deny claims

The companies, which also include Apple and Yahoo, have denied claims the NSA could directly access their servers. US authorities have said the program was legal and limited.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers this week that the program could have prevented 9/11 and said the leaks had caused “significant harm to our nation and to our safety.”

He also confirmed that Snowden was the subject of a criminal investigation.

Snowden, a 29-year-old IT technician, has gone to ground in Hong Kong, where he had surfaced for media interviews after the leaks were published. He has vowed to contest any extradition order in court.

Hundreds of protesters staged a rally in rain-hit Hong Kong earlier to urge the city’s government to reject any request to extradite Snowden and to criticize the US surveillance programs.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post newspaper this week that there have been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally, including targets in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The United States has yet to file a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, a former British colony that retained its separate legal system when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing ultimately retains control over defense and foreign affairs but China and Hong Kong’s governments have yet to comment on Snowden’s case.—Joseph Krauss


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia 2 hours elapsed ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’ 3 hours elapsed Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it 3 hours elapsed Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity 3 hours elapsed Sign maker to be nailed to cross for 28th time 3 hours elapsed 50 Quezon City cops each carry 30-kg crosses 3 hours elapsed AFP: Abu Sayyaf group, not MILF, target of Basilan operation 3 hours elapsed First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council 5 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: intelligence , Internet , security , US



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  3. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  4. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  5. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  6. Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Online-addicted man arrested over son’s death
  9. SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  10. Filling the digital talent gap
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  3. Nude and so dangerous
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  6. Netizens react to Pacquiao’s victory over Bradley
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Ireland’s wedding singer priest an Internet hit
  10. Samsung flagship smartphone goes on sale worldwide
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Why didn’t missing jet passengers use their cellphones?
  7. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  8. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  9. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace