Google has begun sharing certain public records requests, many from the FBI related to national security, in order to illustrate to its users a high level of transparency. Google and all major search and social internet platforms are deluged with record request from law enforcement and court actions. One of the reasons Google may want to show samples of the requests to the public is to bring attention to the fact that they are overwhelmed with requests and also to defend themselves from accusations that they are not giving adequate privacy to those using their service.
The fact is, no one has privacy when using Google or any online platform.
“In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” said Richard Salgado, Director of Law Enforcement and Information Security for Google.”
“As we have described in the past, we have fought for the right to be transparent about our receipt of NSLs,” he said. “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.”
Google has provided links to 8 NSR’s here with the goal of creating a portal for all of them to be viewed in the future. Here is a sample from one of them: