US opposes FISA requests from likes of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook

A US government department has come out to oppose court filings made by various technology companies to reveal the demands for user information lodged by the National Security Agency [NSA].

Reuters reports that the US Justice Department told the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISA] that it’s in opposition to the requests due to the effect revelations will have on ongoing surveillance operations.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as well as a number of others, want to be able to publish more detailed data than is currently given by the US agencies in order to be more transparent.

The court papers, filed under a seal at the FISA court on Monday, request that all information is published in order to prevent any errors in reporting that the technology companies say took place earlier this year.

The Justice Department response to this went as follows: "Such information would be invaluable to our adversaries, who could thereby derive a clear picture of where the government's surveillance efforts are directed and how its surveillance activities change over time, including when the government initiates or expands surveillance efforts involving providers or services that adversaries previously considered 'safe.'"

The companies embroiled in the dispute originally filed FISA requests in the summer after many were named as colluding with the NSA to provide the government with access to user information held by each company as part of the Prism programme.

Edward Snowden, a former CIA and NSA contract worker turned whistleblower, publicised the surveillance programmes with the assistance of The Guardian and Washington Post before flying to Hong Kong to escape the authorities.

The articles revealed that various companies had helped the NSA access information and it’s those requests that technology firms want to reveal more information about. The NSA claimed that the requests helped to prevent dozens of terrorist events from happening.