In answer to a request from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other technology companies that the U.S. government allow them to reveal information regarding inquiries into user data, the government provided only a heavily redacted response, according to Network World. The U.S. Department of Justice said in its brief to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, “Releasing information that could induce adversaries to shift communications platforms in order to avoid surveillance would cause serious harm to the national security interests of the United States.” In their own filing, the companies said that “the government’s decision to withhold information in its response of Sept. 30 is unjustified and unconstitutional,” according to Network World.
Naturally, these technology companies are probably more interested in maintaining their clientele than in any principles relating to civil rights. Furthermore, their appeals to the Constitution are largely pointless, given that no one who gives that document an honest reading can possibly believe that the U.S. government abides by it. Although sentiment may be slowly turning in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations of broad NSA spying, “national security” remains an excuse for all manner of federal shenanigans. As such, the government will continue appealing to national security to protect its power, pending real, broad public rejection of the logic that security trumps rights. In the meantime, technology companies can struggle against the bastion of national security all they want—probably without much success.
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