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Dropbox joins Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft in effort to publish NSA data requests

Dropbox has become the latest big name tech firm to file a brief with the secret US Fisa court, requesting permission to publish the number of surveillance requests it has received from the US government.

The company joins Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and LinkedIn, who have already filed similar motions, for which Dropbox expressed its support to the court.

The firms have argued that their reputation is being harmed by the inability to make the number of data requests public. If they published details without permission of the court it would be breaking the law.

Dropbox has released the court brief through its transparency page. In it, the cloud storage provider states that it is "seeking the Court's permission to publish the number of national security requests they have received and the number of users affected by those requests".

The brief is fairly strongly worded, and even accuses the government of violating the US First Amendment, which ensures the right to free speech.

"There is no statute, nor any other law, supporting the government's demands," it reads. "To the contrary, the proposed gag order violates the First Amendment, as it interferes with both the public's right to obtain truthful information about a matter of substantial public debate and service providers' rights to publish such information.

"For these reasons, Dropbox supports the Service Providers' motions and asks the Court to confirm that all online services may publish accurate information about the number of national-security requests received within a reporting period, along with the number of accounts affected by those requests," it adds.

Speaking at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference recently about the companies' inability to publish information about NSA data requests, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said: "releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated".

"We think it make more sense to work within the system," she added, referring to the decision to not make the government surveillance public, before whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified documents revealing the extent of NSA data collection to the Guardian in May.