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Google slams U.S. government in latest transparency report

Brad Chacos | Nov. 15, 2013
The last six months have brought many troubling revelations about the U.S.' Internet surveillance activities to light and now Google's taking the government to task in a blistering blog post penned to introduce the company's latest transparency report.

Apple's numbers echo Google's and Microsoft's: The U.S. government is the most frequent visitor to the well, making between 1000 and 2000 requests for information involving between 2000 and 3000 user accounts. The next most-needy government, the United Kingdom, only issued 127 requests for data.

What's not in these reports
And remember: All of these transparency reports are only the official requests for information. Edward Snowden's revelations have shown that the U.S. government is willing to obtain wider swathes of user data via... less direct methods, as well.

The NSA's MUSCULAR program, as revealed by the Washington Post in late October, taps the private links between Google and Yahoo's respective data centers. In the span of a thirty day period in late 2012, the MUSCULAR program collected 181,280,466 new records about Yahoo and Google users, many of whom are Americans.

"We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform," Google chief legal officer David Drummond told the Post.

To combat the pervasive monitoring, Google has begun enabling encryption by default for many of the services people use, including basic Google searches. Meanwhile, it was recently announced that the next-gen HTTP 2.0 protocol will require HTTPS encryption.


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