writes "Google has taken a bold step to break the silence surrounding the secret demands the FBI makes that it hand over user data. In a new section of its bi-annual Transparency Report on government censorship and surveillance of its data, Google on Tuesday issued its first ever accounting of how many so-called "national security letters" (NSLs) it receives annually along with how many users were affected, albeit in extremely broad terms. In each of the last four years, the company has received NSLs targeting at least a thousand of its users, along with gag orders that have prevented it from revealing any of those surveillance orders.
The requests are limited in scope to users' registration data, not the content of private messages or IP addresses. But if the FBI knows a user's IP address, it could potentially use the requests to de-anonymize content associated with that address by linking it with a Google account. And the fact that thousands of Google users have been subjected to the NSLs means that they've likely been used far more broadly than has ever been reported by the FBI."Link to Original Source