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AT&T reports more than 300,000 data requests in 2013

AT&T is the latest carrier to share data on government requests for its information, and once again, the sheer amount of requests is staggering.

AT&T revealed Tuesday that it received nearly 302,000 data requests in 2013 relating to criminal and civil cases. The demands -- made by federal, state, and local authorities -- include more than 248,000 subpoenas, nearly 37,000 court orders, and more than 16,000 search warrants. In 17,000 cases, AT&T provided no or partial data in response to those demands.

In addition to court-related demands, AT&… Read more

Tumblr lets loose its first Transparency Report

In an effort to be fully open, Tumblr unveiled a Transparency Report on Monday that detailed all government requests for user data. This report shows that in 2013, the company received 462 requests and it gave the government data 76 percent of the time. Tumblr said that from now on it will publish these Transparency Reports twice a year.

"Consistent with our core principles, we'd like to shine some light on an issue that is deeply important to both our community and the greater public: government requests for user information," Tumblr wrote in a blog post. "… Read more

With NSA reform, what does more disclosure from tech firms mean?

The US Department of Justice announced on Monday that it made a preliminary deal with a handful of top technology companies that will let them publicly disclose the number of times the government requests user data. While it appears this is a step toward greater transparency, what does it really mean?

For years, it's been unclear how much and what type of information the National Security Agency has been collecting from tech companies. The NSA is one of the biggest surveillance and eavesdropping agencies in the US and was where Edward Snowden worked before he decided to leak some … Read more

Verizon Transparency Report reveals 164,000 subpoenas, 1,500 wiretaps

As expected, Verizon has released its 2013 Transparency Report, and the company's data shows the US is extremely interested in its network.

Last year, Verizon received more than 320,000 requests for customer information from US law enforcement agencies. Verizon was hit with more than 164,000 subpoenas and nearly 71,000 legal orders. Among those orders were 1,500 wiretap requests. Verizon received 37,000 warrants for information and about 50,000 "emergency requests."

Verizon has become the latest in a series of major companies to release information on government requests for its data. Google, Yahoo, … Read more

Google: Government takedown requests on the rise

The number of requests Google receives from governments around the world to remove content from its services continue to rise at a rapid pace.

Google received 3,846 government requests to remove 24,737 pieces of content during the first half of 2013, a 68 percent increase over the 2,285 government removal requests the company received in the second half of 2012. Google released the updated numbers Thursday, which cover requests made from January to June 2013, as part of its Transparency Report.

Google spotlighted one trend in particular that it said has remained consistent since launching the report … Read more

Vanatoo's mighty mini speakers deliver a knockout punch

My advice to speaker shoppers who prioritize sound quality is go for a good set of big speakers. They conjure the sound of music more realistically than tiny ones. I know all too well that most folks settle for something smaller, and usually it's a case of the smaller, the better. That's why designers are always trying to get bigger sounds out of smaller speakers. Enter the Vanatoo Transparent One, a 10-inch-tall powerhouse armed with a 5.25-inch aluminum woofer, a separate rear-mounted 5.25-inch passive radiator, and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. This little speaker made a … Read more

Apple, Google, Microsoft unite against NSA spying program

The top tech companies are sharpening their blades in their battle with the National Security Agency. While they've been doggedly asking for transparency on the agency's mass surveillance program for months, they're now calling for reform.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and AOL penned a letter (pdf) to the lead members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday urging the lawmakers to substantially reform the NSA surveillance practices. The companies also asked for additional oversight and accountability mechanisms for the spying programs.

"Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is … Read more

Google logs record 21.5M URL takedown requests in September

The number of URL takedown requests Google receives from copyright holders has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. And now, a new high has been reached -- Google received 21.5 million takedown requests in September.

The new data comes in Google's Transparency Report, which not only gives the numbers but also shows who is requesting the takedowns, the copyright owners, and the targeted domains.

During the last week of September, Google received the highest amount of requests to date -- a whopping 5.9 million. For comparison, not much more than a year ago the search engine … Read more

Web giants demand more transparency on spy inquiries

A group of some of the biggest names in technology and advocacy has written an open letter to Congress demanding greater transparency when it comes to government requests for user data.

In the letter (PDF), companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, and others wrote to Congress to promote the passage of the Senate's Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and the House's Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, "each of which would clarify that companies have the right to publish basic … Read more

Twitter: Government info requests on the rise

Governments keep wanting more and more information from Twitter.

The company's latest transparency report, now a biannual affair, shows a steady increase in information requests from governments around the world, including those for user account information, which Twitter said typically are made in connection with criminal investigations or cases. For the first six months of 2013, Twitter received 1,157 requests, up from 1,009 in the second half of 2012 and 849 in the first half of 2012.

This is Twitter's first transparency report since the explosive revelations by onetime NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the surveillance … Read more