Google wants to release info on classified requests

SEATTLE -- The New York Times reported Google has requested the government allow it to disclose details about classified requests it has received regarding personal information about foreign users.

The Times said it is the first time the company has publicly acknowledged it has received such requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The act prohibits companies from acknowledging such requests or revealing any information about the requests.

Google told the Times that it compiles with "far fewer" requests from the government than it receives.

The technology company's request came about after information about the National Security Agency's secret surveillance program, Prism, was released. The government uses Prism to collection a variety of information, including email, phone records and online chats, the Times said. Prism is legally authorized by the FISA.

The request to reveal the information came from Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, and was addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller, the paper reported.

In the letter, the paper said that Drummond "expressed frustration" that Google has not been able to field queries about what user data it shares because of a government gag order.

“If we could publish those numbers openly, as we are asking, they would show that our compliance with these national security requests falls far short of the claims being made,” Leslie Miller, a Google spokeswoman, said.

Read the complete New York Times article here.