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  • 12.14.16

Google has published eight National Security Letters for all to see

The company published the additional NSLs on its blog after publishing a single NSL in its most recent transparency report, reports TechCrunch. NSLs are letters Google received from various government security agencies requesting access to a user’s account and information. The eight letters Google published came from the FBI and were received over the five-year period from 2010 to 2015. In the blog post, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security said the publication of the NSLs were an attempt to be more transparent about government surveillance of Google users:

As we have described in the past, we have fought for the right to be transparent about our receipt of NSLs. This includes working with the government to publish statistics about NSLs we’ve received, successfully fighting NSL gag provisions in court, and leading the effort to ensure that internet companies can be more transparent with users about the volume and scope of national security demands that we receive . . . 
We are now making copies of those NSLs available. Our goal in doing so is to shed more light on the nature and scope of NSLs. We minimized redactions to protect privacy interests, but the content of the NSLs remain as they were when served. We are also publishing the correspondence reflecting the lifting of the nondisclosure restrictions.

MG