Google released new figures detailing the number of National Security Letters (NSLs) requests coming from the FBI and other agencies that request user information when conducting national security investigations.
In Â 2009, 2011, and 2012 there were between 1,000 and 1,999 NSLâ€™s on user accounts, while in 2011 there were between 2,000 and 2,999 requests. Although Google did not post absolute numbers as they could reveal government investigations, they did state theyâ€™re supposed to address peopleâ€™s concerns about “the increase in their use since 9/11”.
“Our users trust Google with a lot of very important data, whether it’s emails, photos, documents, posts or videos,” said Richard Salgado, Google’s law enforcement and information security legal director. â€œOf course, people donâ€™t always use our services for good, and itâ€™s important that law enforcement be able to investigate illegal activity.â€
NSL requests cannot compel Google to give away email contents, search queries, or IP addresses, but they can ask for â€name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing recordsâ€.
Google said all requests will be carefully analyzed so as not to completely abide by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and not divulge any information that might be considered unconstitutional.
Future annual reports are said to keep including such data as to ensure total transparency between government officials and end users.
â€œStarting today, weâ€™re now including data about NSLs in our Transparency Report,â€ said Salgado. â€œWeâ€™re thankful to U.S. government officials for working with us to provide greater insight into the use of NSLs.â€