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Dropbox files petition to report national security requests

Joins other internet firms
Wed Sep 25 2013, 14:04
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ONLINE STORAGE SERVICE Dropbox has joined calls for more transparency in reporting national security data requests.

Like other firms before it, the cloud storage business is concerned that the US National Security Agency and FBI are not letting it talk about all the requests that they make to it.

Although it has not released a transparency report since January, that does not mean that it is not on its mind.

Back then it said that it was trying to get permission to report more fully, and that it would let everyone know how that was going.

"This report doesn't include national security requests... Unfortunately, the government allows services to disclose only the aggregate number of all law enforcement and national security requests received (and even then the disclosure must be in large bands). A report in that form decreases transparency, especially for companies that receive zero or very few national security requests," it said.

"We've urged the government to allow online services to disclose the exact number of national security requests received in a reporting period without revealing details about specific requests. Our proposal provides much-needed transparency for users while protecting legitimate national security interests. We'll keep you updated as we continue to seek better ways to let you know about the requests we receive."

This week the firm did update its information and revealed that it is pursuing legal relief (PDF).

"Today we filed a legal brief asking the court to confirm that we have the right to report the number of national security requests we receive, if any," it said in an update. "We'll keep you updated about any developments."

A petition, filed with the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), joins others from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook. It said that not letting service providers report how often the NSA and FBI come knocking violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

"The government's approach harms public debate and discussion, without any societal benefit," it added. µ

 

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