Google: FBI Spying On Thousands Of Users

Photo Credit: dannysullivanIn a Google report released Tuesday, the tech giant revealed that thousands of inquiries have been made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the personal information of its users.

The document, entitled “Transparency Report: Shedding more light on National Security Letters,” was posted by Richard Salgado, the legal director of law enforcement and information security at Google.

“The FBI can seek the ‘name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records’ of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service” by filing a National Security Letter (NSL), the report said. Google has received as many as 4,000 NSLs since 2009, requesting information for as many as 10,000 accounts.

In a 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, NSLs were described as “comparable to administrative subpoenas,” and could also be directed toward credit agencies, in addition to “communications providers [and] financial institutions.” The report said the applicable scenarios for filing NSLs were broadened under the Patriot Act.

According to the Google report, for information to be released, the NSL must be “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

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