By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 31, 2013 11:26 AM EDT
The government's omnipresence and spying monitoring has caused a lot of uproar recently and now Microsoft and Google are reportedly looking to sue.
It all started when Edward Snowden publicly disclosed how the NSA handled its surveillance programs. After worldwide outrage, Microsoft, Google and a number of other companies have requested the government to allow them to reveal the extent of their cooperation, aiming to allow both customers and foreign governments to know where they stand and make informed choices of whether to trust a company's services or not.
In a new blog post, Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs, explained how negotiating with the government over permission "to publish sufficient data relating to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders" has not been successful. Consequently, Microsoft, as well as Google, will resort to litigation in order to obtain such permissions from the FISA court.
According to Smith, both Microsoft and Google proceeded to litigation back in June, filing suit for permission to disclose information about the extent of their cooperation with the government. Both companies believe they have the constitutional right to inform their users on this matter, but the government seems to have a different opinion. Before finally replying to the suit, the government asked for no less than six extensions from the court.
Moreover, an order from the FISA court lists Aug. 30 (5 p.m.) as the deadline for the current extension. Neither Microsoft nor Google will agree to any more extensions, added Smith.
Knowing that the government spies on every move has made many people feel uneasy and numerous consumers have lost trust in companies such as Microsoft, Google and others, believing that using their services would be synonymous with sharing their whole life with the government.
Microsoft and Google naturally want to regain consumers' trust. Disclosing just what they do share with the government would help ease such concerns and shed more light on the matter, but the government apparently sees no flaw in how things are right now.
If the two companies are successful with their litigation, however, the government may have no other choice but to allow them to be more transparent.
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