Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft reportedly notifying users of 'secret' government data demands

Google already notifies customers unless prohibited by law

If the government demands your personal, private email or other data, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and others are reportedly taking steps to notify you faster and more frequently than they did in the past. That's putting them at odds with prosecutors who believe such notifications can interfere with ongoing investigations and evidence gathering. The Washington Post:

Fueling the shift is the industry's eagerness to distance itself from the government after last year's disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance of online services. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.

These new policies, however, don't affect data requests from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or from National Security letters, which are automatically gagged as a matter of law.

Google already has their policy in place, which includes exemptions of imminent harm and criminal activity. They said in a statement:

We notify users about legal demands when appropriate, unless prohibited by law or court order.

Apple's statement:

Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple.

Microsoft is likewise working on revising their disclosure policies.

For much more on the matter and its implications, see the link below. Then let me know — how comfortable are you with the way companies handle disclosing demands for your information?

Source: The Washington Post

 

Reader comments

Apple, Google, Microsoft increasingly defying U.S. government, informing customers of data demands

58 Comments

Mainly because gov has nothing to do with my details if I am not doing anything wrong. Gov however just loves digging in ppl lives w/o any reason and that should be flagged up...

Because you do not want the people in power, people who can put you in jail or hurt you or your family for any reason they see fit, to have access to all this information that MAY incriminate you on whatever charge they cook up.

Laws change, moralities change people in power change, and once people in power have this power over you they'll hold to it dearly.

And one day, you'll thank people who have been fighting this, because things could have been WAY worse had they not held up the freedom and privacy flags.

Post your address here so we can all come over and visit. If your not doing anything illegal or immoral, you should be OK with that.

Posted via Android Central App

Ok. Then let me just walk into your house and sit with you at dinner for no reason at all, just because. Let me go into your house and watch your tv for no reason at all, just because.

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

This is a fallacious argument. A desire for privacy does not equate to guilt, first of all. Secondly, our country's founders understood the capacity that governments have to abuse power and information, which is why the 4th Amendment to the Constitution exists (prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure of property, papers, effects, etc).

It is a common tactic of repressive regimes to make things that were once legal a crime against the state or label it treason, and then go after people who engaged in speech or activity that was legal at the time retroactively. The "that could/would never happen here" argument is also fallacious, as we have seen recently that it can, and sometimes does, happen here.

The question is what's reasonable and what isn't. I think much of the public doesn't realize where that line is drawn.

Posted via Android Central App

People like you are the problem. You have no idea what you are saying. Likely you believe all of the fear mongering that you are sold on TV despite the FACT that crime is at all time historic lows.

Posted via Android Central App (Nexus 5)

Seriously? So if you are doing nothing wrong you should have no problem letting them search your house whenever they want, tap your phones and internet, and wear a gps tracker so they know where you are at all times. You're not doing anything wrong so you are ok with that, right?

For the same reason you don't want the military operating as a police force on domestic soil: The police protect the citizens, while the military fights enemies of the state. When the military becomes the police, the citizens tend to become the enemies of the state.

By the same token, government interference in each individual's private life must be measured and with explicit reason. Otherwise, you're opening the door for the kind of Orwellian totalitarianism that this country was founded to get away from.

The police are not here to protect citizens, they are only responsible for enforcing laws (which can and do change). Big difference. That's why they're labeled as "law enforcement", not a citizen's security force. That's what privately owned arms are for. Please don't get it confused. I understand and agree with your big picture takeaway, but I wanted to clarify for those that weren't sure.

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You're right. The idea is that the laws are intended to protect the citizens. The fact that we need this clarification is am indication of how far we've gotten off course, but I digress.

And if they really want to tick off the gov, add some warrant canaries, or even put in some per account warrant canaries behind your account login.

Take action before the government goes too far! I myself believe that the United Nations should take action, spying on the people is taking away their freedom!

Let's just hope that what these companies are doing is going to prevent them carrying out their operations effectively other than encourage them to hack into our networks

Posted via Stock Nexus 4*

The U.N. is not the friend of anyone except dictators and despots. Look at the actual "accomplishments" of the U.N. and you will see a trail of misery wherever they go.

They're doing as much as they can without having the government come down on them like a sledge hammer. The problem is not the companies. It's the gag orders from secret courts preventing the companies from disclosing that this is happening.

One day you will get pulled over and the cop will be able to see your Facebook wall, or whatever social media is relevant at the time. I don't particularly want an individual and their own moral compass to have so much information on me, even if I do not engage in illegal activity.

Privacy is [almost]gone. And we let it happen in the name of convenience.

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Now i dont like anything but mic and android. But hell yeah im in with all these bad boys. UNLESS ITS OVER CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. We deserve to have time to protect ourselves. Its america land of the free till prooved guilty. We should be able to have time to protect ourselves from incriminating stuff. USA IS A FREE COUNTRY BECAUSE 1776 MADE IT LAND OF THE FREE. THE RICH GET AWAY AND THE POWERFUL. THIS IS THE LEASE THAT WE CAN HAVE IS TIME TO DELETE DELETE LOL

Actually it's 1787 when the constitution was created that gave us our rights, 1776 was the Declaration of Independence, you need to take History classes along with remedial English

If you want to be really nitpicky, anything that would be cited as justification for the expectation of privacy would be in the Bill of Rights, which was ratified in December 1791.

Actually, the Constitution did not give us our rights. It enumerated limitations on Government. Our rights are God-Given (Or natural-born if you're of a more Atheistic bent) and cannot be given or taken away by government. They can only be broken by others. They still exist, even if ignored by unscrupulous people (eg the NSA)

Rubbish. You think policies will protect people from the government? This is only in cases where info is asked for. If the government wants something bad enough they just take it. They just publicize this to make it seem like we have some privacy.

Part of the reason they're doing this is to get the word out that this sort of thing is going on. The government is imposing gag orders on these companies with very severe penalties for violation, so the companies are very limited in what they can do. At least they're trying to do *something*.

I understand if your not doing anything wrong! But it's a violation of are privacy! We loosing more and more of are privacy. Next they will tell us we can't talk to others in the car while we drive.

Posted via Android Central App

This 'initiative' by Apple, Microsoft, Google & whoever else, means nothing. A federal agency seeking information will get it, that covers FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF, INS, NSA... All major government agencies will be granted access and get automatic gagging. What's left, local police, and if you're under investigation for any type of criminal activity, a judge will gag them for that as well.
So basically, what they're saying is; if Joe Shmoe LEO gets a bug up his gagootz for you and wants to watch what you're doing online, they're going to notify you of that? How many times will that scenario take place? This makes no sense. Are they telling us that up until now, any law enforcement demand for access is granted? No matter why what for or how much?

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