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Facebook and Microsoft Disclose Government Requests For User Data 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the know-when-to-walk-away-know-when-to-run dept.
wiredmikey writes "Facebook and Microsoft say they received thousands of requests for information from U.S. authorities last year but are prohibited from listing a separate tally for security-related requests or secret court orders related to terror probes. The two companies have come under heightened scrutiny since reports leaked of a vast secret Internet surveillance program U.S. authorities insist targets only foreign terror suspects and is needed to prevent 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 and Microsoft said it had received 6,000 to 7,000 requests affecting 31,000 to 32,000 accounts during the same period." Meanwhile, an article at the Guardian is suggesting the government may have better targets to pursue than Edward Snowden. "[U.S. director of national intelligence James Clapper] has come out vocally to condemn Snowden as a traitor to the public interest and the country, yet a review of Booz Allen's own history suggests that the government should be investigating his former employer, rather than the whistleblower."
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Facebook and Microsoft Disclose Government Requests For User Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:55PM (#44017773)

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snowden/Dp03vGYD

  • Re:Snowden.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:57PM (#44017789)

    A head in the sand argument to this spying doesn't hold water, the "I don't do anything wrong, so no problem" argument. It is a problem for everyone simply because people you support can be spyed on, and the information can then be used against them. If a republican government is in power, they can spy on the democrats for example. Objectors to any government policy can be spyed on and their cause undermined. This is a massive problem for America. Sitting here in Australia the media is reporting this quite differently to what you're seeing in America. There is no "traitor vs hero" reporting, just the facts of US surveillance and a sprinkling of respect tor the rebellious American, Edward Snowden.

  • by skegg (666571) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:23PM (#44017909)

    Is it appropriate to report half a year's worth of data?

    Facebook said Friday it had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data... during the second half of last year

    Though not unheard of, six months is an uncommon period to report; isn't the general expectation that they would report a full year's worth? Of course that would result in the requests being approximately doubled. My concern would be people will remember the amount as "9,000 and 10,000 requests per year".

    This reminds me of politicians who also skew the time period to make dollar amounts appear larger or smaller.
    To make dollar amounts appear larger, they increase the time period ("we're investing $4 billion over ten years").
    An innovative approach recently used by Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to convince Australians that politicians were only awarding themselves a tiny increase in public money was to use the following: the increase is only a dollar per vote per year.

    I suspect the choice of "six months" was a deliberate attempt to skew the perception of the requests.

  • Re:Treason (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:07PM (#44018243)

    o. The people responsible for spying on American citizens are the ones who have betrayed their country and the public interest.

    I doubt they see it that way. And in any case, it's easy to blame somebody else... or a group of people... but let me ask: Did you vote in the last election? Did you write to your congress critters at any point during the long procession of decisions that has led us to this point? Held up a sign on a street corner? Had a meaningful discussion with a stranger about this? Met with anyone to discuss the problem? Democracy doesn't run very well on apathy... it's rather like pouring diesel into a gas tank... the results aren't pretty and the engine usually dies as a result.

    They're the ones who should be caught, tried, and imprisoned.

    Might I suggest that since we already have the highest incarceration rate of any country on the planet we start looking to solutions to social problems that don't involve sending people to our criminal education centers? Because that's pretty much what prison is: It's a place you go to meet like-minded people and learn all kinds of shit you wouldn't otherwise learn... and are then normalized to the idea that what you did was okay. And then you're released back into society where you're promptly told you have few housing or employment options, no friends, and very often just the clothes on your back. Oh... and a fresh new education.

    . Government officials who violate the US constitution are traitors.

    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom â" go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" -- Samuel Adams

    If you aren't participating, you're part of the problem. As part of the problem, you must be a traitor. As a traitor, you should be executed. (grabs a big rock) So, how do you want to die, sinner?! ... In other news, extreme statements like calling people "traitors" can result in extreme reactions, like stoning to death. Of course, a more civilized discourse would avoid using words like "traitor" to describe government officials carrying out their official duties, and perhaps might focus instead on the actual constitutional definition of what a traitor is... since you did invoke the Constitution afterall. Since you're obviously unfamiliar with the relevant passage...

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    People like Snowden are heroes.

    Snowden himself disagrees with your assessment.

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