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Facebook, Microsoft release surveillance information

Facebook, Microsoft release surveillance information

Following an agreement with the US government, several Internet companies – Microsoft, Facebook, to name a few – will be putting out information, albeit limited in nature, about the number of the surveillance requests they’ve received. As part of the agreement, the companies can release the number of government requests they receive, without breaking out the number that comes from National Security Agency program.

On its part, software giant Microsoft Corp has revealed that in the latter half of 2012, it received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders that affected around 32,000 consumer accounts from local, state and federal US governmental entities.

Some web surveillance information revelaed

As for Facebook’s data, its general counsel Ted Ullyot said in a statement that Facebook can mention total numbers, but is “lobbying to reveal more”. As per the agreement, Ullyot revealed that Facebook received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests from government entities in the last six months of 2012 –  on topics ranging from missing children to terrorist threats.

These reports follow earlier reports that linked Google, Microsoft and Facebook among others, to the PRISM programme. Soon after, Google’s Larry Page put out a post on Google titled “What the…?”. Page said the company did provide the National Security Agency access to email and other personal information transmitted on various online services. “We have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday,” Page said in a post, co-signed by David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer.