Google dropped a single Nationwide Safety Letter into its most up-to-date transparency report with out a lot fanfare, however at the moment the corporate printed eight extra NSLs in an try and shed extra mild on authorities surveillance of Google customers.
The eight letters printed at the moment had been despatched to Google from FBI workplaces throughout the nation. Cumulatively, the NSLs search broad entry to content material for round 20 person accounts. The usernames of the targets are redacted, though the FBI doesn’t require it. A Google spokesperson mentioned the usernames had been redacted to guard person privateness and that the focused people had been notified.
The NSLs had been despatched to Google over a five-year interval, from 2010 to 2015, with the bulk coming from the Charlotte, North Carolina subject workplace of the FBI. Others got here from Florida, Arizona, New York and California.
NSLs have traditionally been issued with interminable gag orders stopping tech firms from discussing the letters or their contents, however the passage of the USA Freedom Act final 12 months allowed firms to start disclosing the letters. Yahoo turned the primary main tech firm to reveal NSLs it acquired from the FBI, publishing three in June. Since then, Google and the Internet Archive have adopted swimsuit.
“In our continued effort to extend transparency round authorities calls for for person information, at the moment we start to make out there to the general public the Nationwide Safety Letters (NSLs) we’ve acquired the place, both by litigation or laws, we’ve been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” Richard Salgado, Google’s director of legislation enforcement and data safety, wrote in a blog post.
Google has fought to make the letters public partially as a result of the FBI can difficulty them with out prior judicial oversight. Many tech firms have argued that, given the wealth of knowledge held of their customers’ accounts, the info shouldn’t be topic to a secret search with out the approval of a court docket. Over the previous a number of years, Google challenged 19 NSLs in court docket and final 12 months gained the fitting to inform WikiLeaks workers that their information had been requested.
Quickly, Google will set up a house for its NSL disclosures as a part of its transparency report, Salgado mentioned. Within the meantime, you possibly can learn the eight letters here.