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Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft close in on data demand disclosures

Staying mum for now
Fri May 02 2014, 15:08

BIG TECHNOLOGY FIRMS Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google reportedly are changing the way that they report data surveillance requests to their users, in defiance of the authorities.

According to the Washington Post the firms are all getting ready to become more open about government information requests and will go ahead and reveal suchstatistics in their transparency reports, regardless of the authorities' restrictions.

The Washington Post has spoken with representatives from the firms, and has received confirmation of the moves. We have asked the firms to comment but Google and Microsoft have declined to comment, however the Washington Post said that Google has the most advanced plans.

Apple told the newspaper that it would announce disclosure policy changes shortly. "Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple," said a company spokesperson.

Microsoft did point us to a blog post in which it called for government surveillance reform. That post, written in February, asked the government to balance security and privacy.

"People won't use technology they don't trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it," said Frederick Humphries Jr, Microsoft VP of US Government Affairs. "Microsoft will keep advocating for change until that day comes, and in the meantime will continue to take direct action to protect our customers."

Facebook and Apple have yet to respond. These firms, like others, have made moves in the direction of bigger, wider and more open disclosure in this post Snowden world. µ


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