In the wake of revelations about the scope of the NSA’s surveillance activities, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald will soon be writing a book that is expected to reveal new information on the matter.  Some of the book’s focus will also be on the alleged cooperation of private companies with the government’s program.

From The Guardian:

Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald is to publish a book about Edward Snowden’s exposure of mass public surveillance by the US government.

The book, which is due to be published in March, will contain new revelations about the NSA surveillance programs, according to publisher Metropolitan Books.


Metropolitan Books described the book as containing “new revelations exposing the extraordinary co-operation of private industry and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s program, both domestically and abroad”.

Greenwald has long written about what he considers to be the surveillance state of the US, and spoken at events – such as the Socialism 2012 conference in Chicago – about the relationship between private industry and the government in surveillance cooperation.

When the Snowden story on NSA surveillance first broke, there were many questions about the level of cooperation between private companies and the government on issues of national security, much of which remains somewhat murky today as news reports have changed.

Most of the private companies alleged to have cooperated with the PRISM program initially denied even any knowledge of it entirely (likely because “PRISM” is a term internal to the government).  As more information became available, those companies later clarified that they do cooperate with law enforcement requests and court orders to provide data as required by law.

Several companies have since appealed to the Department of Justice for permission to publish statistics and information regarding national security letter requests for data related to the companies’ users, in an effort to differentiate such compliance from other law enforcement related requests.  National security requests under FISA are typically not permitted to be publicly disclosed.

In a July 16th posting on Microsoft’s TechNet blog, Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President for Legal & Corporate Affairs published the letter and details of Microsoft’s own request of the DoJ on the matter.

Today we have asked the Attorney General of the United States to personally take action to permit Microsoft and other companies to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information. We believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us. For example, Government lawyers have yet to respond to the petition we filed in court on June 19, seeking permission to publish the volume of national security requests we have received. We hope the Attorney General can step in to change this situation.

Until that happens, we want to share as much information as we currently can. There are significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked government documents reported in the media last week. We have asked the Government again for permission to discuss the issues raised by these new documents, and our request was denied by government lawyers.

That posting also includes a list of responses that seek to provide clarity to the allegations made in the related NSA reporting.  Microsoft also published its most recent transparency report, which separately details other law enforcement requests for data disclosures.

Similar previous requests have been made by other private companies such as Google.

A coalition of privacy advocates, organizations and private companies – including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo – also sent a letter to President Obama and members of Congress,”to urge greater transparency around national security-related requests by the US government to Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers for information about their users and subscribers.”

With Greenwald’s book expected to focus on the cooperation between private companies and the government in its surveillance activities, we can likely expect to see these companies increasing their pressure on the government to permit the publication of national security related data requests.


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