Google can't seem to stay out of the news. The Edward Snowden leaks have resulted in an avalanche of issues that are bringing in to question the tech giant's integrity and commitment to user privacy.
That, and then some.
Google Files Amended Motion to FISC
On Monday, Google filed an amended motion to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ("FISC") after failed attempts at negotiating with the Department of Justice regarding the transparency that Google can have with its users. In June, Google (along with Microsoft) filed a motion for declaratory judgment to allow Google to release "the total number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, reports Ars Technica.
A little over a week before the amended complaint was filed, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, released a statement saying the Intelligence Community "will release the total number of orders issued during the prior twelve-month period, and the number of targets affected by ... [among others, FISA orders]."
Google found that commendable, but stated that the DNI's attempts "fall short" and petitioned the court stating it had a First Amendment right to provide transparency to its users. Google instead would like to...
report the aggregate number of active requests in each of the specified categories during the prior six months -- the very same as proposed by the DNI and noted above -- and the total aggregate number of users or accounts encompassed by each category of request.
Though the information sought to be released is not classified, the fact that the government is contesting the motion is curious. We'll have to wait and see what the FISC will decide.
Google Network "Targeted" by NSA
Files leaked by Edward Snowden show that various international business entities were NSA "targets."More surprising is that among the global companies was -- you guessed it, Google. According to Slate, it's not confirmed that Google was actually infiltrated, but if it were, that would be a huge disappointment. Slate has stated that Google refused to comment on the situation.
Google Refuses to Remove Pirate Bay Homepage
Google has been said to be soft on piracy, and the latest attempt of the British Record Music Industry (comprised of Sony, Warner and Universal and indie labels, manufacturers and distributors) to remove the Pirate Bay homepage doesn't help its case, according to Torrent Freak.
Pirate Bay is a known torrent site that allows users to share files -- basically engaging in copyright infringement with abandon. Because Pirate Bay doesn't actually link to infringing material on its homepage, Google refused to ban the homepage. This is not the first time Pirate Bay has been targeted, and will probably not be the last.
- Google Challenges NSA Gag Order, Cites 1st Amendment (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- No Expectation of Privacy If You Use Gmail, Google Says (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- Google Keep (Or Creep) Just Added Some Insanely Cool Features (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)