The US government and five major internet companies have reached a compromise on how much information the firms can reveal to their users regarding client information requests by US intelligence departments, according to court documents released on January 27.
The settlement stems from a case against the US government brought about by Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook. Its aim was to acquire permission from the authorities so that they can divulge the frequency of information requests by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Permitting disclosure of this aggregate data addresses an important area of concern to communications providers and the public,” said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder in a joint statement.
While the tech giants welcomed the compromise, they stated that data disclosure under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act should be enhanced further in order to alleviate privacy concerns.
“We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive. While this is a very positive step, we’ll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps,” said the companies.
Nevertheless, this is considered a good move as it will address news inaccuracies and lessen the public’s concern about their involvement in the espionage program PRISM.
The sharing of client information with the NSA became a controversial issue in the US after Edward Snowden leaked details on the agency’s PRISM program.