Tech Companies Reach National Security Deal With Department Of Justice

Eric Schmidt using motorola moto x smartphoneREUTERS/Rick WilkingGoogle chairman Eric Schmidt.

A group of tech companies have reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice over disclosing national security information requests, Bloomberg reports.

Firms involved include Google and Yahoo, Bloomberg said. Reuters reported Google and Microsoft were involved.

The deal will enable the firms to report more detail about security requests.

The DOJ confirmed the move in a statement (below):

“… the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests, and the underlying legal authorities.”

The settlement comes after some heavy litigation from Microsoft, which had called the Obama Administration’s surveillance of American systems via the hacking of its services an “advanced persistent threat” that may be unconstitutional.

Apple referred to NSA operatives as “malicious hackers.”

Bloomberg reported that Google, Microsoft Corp., Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn had all filed motions asking permission to publish details about government orders for security info.

Here is the press release from the DOJ:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AG
MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 (202) 514-2007
WWW.JUSTICE.GOV TTY (866) 544-5309

JOINT STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AND DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE JAMES CLAPPER ON NEW REPORTING METHODS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY ORDERS


 WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the following joint statement Monday:

“As indicated in the Justice Department’s filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests, and the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.

“This action was directed by the President earlier this month in his speech on intelligence reforms. While this aggregate data was properly classified until today, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with other departments and agencies, has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that required its classification.

“Permitting disclosure of this aggregate data addresses an important area of concern to communications providers and the public. But more work remains on other issues. In the weeks ahead, additional steps must be taken in order to fully implement the reforms directed by the President.

“The declassification reflects the Executive Branch’s continuing commitment to making information about the Government’s intelligence activities publicly available where appropriate and is consistent with ensuring the protection of the national security of the United States.”

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