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DOJ Announces New Methods For Reporting National Security Requests 117

As the NSA metadata collection scandal has developed, a number of technology and communications companies have fought to increase the transparency of the data collection process by publishing reports on how much data government agencies are asking them for. These transparency reports have been limited, however, because most government requests are entwined with a gag order. In a speech two weeks back, President Obama said this would change, and now the Dept. of Justice has announced new, slightly relaxed rules about what information companies can share. According to an email from the U.S. Deputy Attorney General (PDF) to the General Counsel of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Yahoo, the companies can publish: how many Criminal Process requests they received, how many National Security Letters they received, how many accounts were affected by NSLs, how many Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders were received (both for communications content and 'non-content'), and how many customers were targeted by FISA requests. The companies still aren't allowed to give specific numbers, but they can report them in bands of 1,000 — for example, 0-999, 1,000-1,999, etc. Information requests for old services cannot be disclosed for at least six months. The first information requests for a new service cannot be disclosed for two years. The companies also have the option of lumping all the NSL and FISA requests together — if they do that, they can report in bands of 250 instead of 1,000.
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DOJ Announces New Methods For Reporting National Security Requests

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  • by deconfliction ( 3458895 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @05:15PM (#46094507)

    I have found over the last 10 years or so, that it really helps my sanity to see them play these kinds of reindeer games. The thread that helped keep my sanity together thinking about the security vulnerability of all the closed source firmware I was using was this thought- "If my human society and government was anywhere near the sort of thing I could respect and depend on to protect my 'inalienable rights' those in high levels would be talking openly about how as a society we should be considering such potetential surveillance state styles". It was the fact that I was hearing in the public debate, only (not so) vague attempts from all directions to direct the conversation precisely *away* from that center. That is what kept me sane believing that the center really was there, and at the time, in darkness.

    Similarly, this summary, if accurate, is an example of the same thing. The hoops, and games they are willing to go through to try and 'normalize' this, after all that has been revealed in the last year- proves in my mind- exactly how bad things really must be.

    I may be crazy. That is how I've seen the world in the past 10 years.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:04PM (#46094987)

    "It's from the DOJ. Go see who they report to."

    That's not an answer.

    I didn't ask who was ultimately responsible (both Obama and Congress are culpable). I was asking who actually made the change to the regulations... or did they? Are they just ignoring regulations? Did they change regulations? Or are they just ignoring all the rules as they usually have in this administration? Or maybe they're ceasing to ignore the laws as they actually existed?

    This is all very ambiguous. And it should not be.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.