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News Link • Intelligence: Use and Abuse

Google contests US gag order as Gmail users freaked by US spying

• by Uttara Choudhury

New York: Google asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease gag orders over data requests it makes, in the latest move by the California search giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of revelations about the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance of Internet traffic.

Google, one of nine US companies named in NSA documents as providing information to the PRISM spy program, is trying to reassure Gmail users that their privacy is being protected from unwarranted intrusions. Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo that handle sensitive personal data are worried the relentless media coverage will erode public confidence, making people feel less comfortable sending personal emails and sharing photos. That could put a serious crimp in their business.

In addition to forcing them to engage in the PRISM program, the NSA limits disclosures about their involvement, making it difficult for these companies to defend their reputations. 

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