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Tech companies allowed to release more info on government data requests

By Kyle Johnson,

The Justice Department agreed on Monday to allow tech companies to reveal more information about the data requests that are made.

It's a small victory for Google and Microsoft, along with three other tech companies who fought not being able to reveal the amount the government was asking for. However, they aren't completely happy, reports The Washington Post.

Spokespeople for the companies said that the concession from the Justice Department is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't completely allow the companies to reveal the whole picture.

Tech companies couldn't divulge if they received requests before. They will be able to now, but they still can't give specific numbers. The relaxation of the rules mean that the tech companies can provide some sort of picture of how many national security letters or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requests they get.

According to Reuters, Apple took advantage and quickly revealed that during the first six months of last year, the tech company had less than 250 requests for data made.

Before this rule relaxation, Apple could only offer a weak statement like the number of requests were "infinitesimal relative to the hundreds of millions of accounts registered with Apple."

The five companies involved in the lawsuit noted that "we believe the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive."

 

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