/ intelligence

FISC and DoJ lift some of the gag order on providers

"IC On The Record" Tumblr blog, or "I Con The Record", depending on how you want to read it, posted this fine example of bureaucrateese:

As indicated in the Justice Department’s filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests, and the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.

To want to know what it really means you have to either read between the lines and use a lot of prior knowledge, or simply jump over to The Verge where the whole deal is neatly explained:

The Department of Justice has announced a new deal with major tech companies that would allow unprecedented levels of disclosure about government data requests. Among other breakthroughs, the deal would allow each company to publicly announce the number of FISA requests and national security letters it has received in a given year, as well as the total number of users affected. Both numbers will still have to be reported in bands of 250 or 1000.

The reason for this relaxation of gag orders is not out of good will, it is rather because it has been challenged quite publicly by Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft...

The order also comes after numerous court challenges by Google, Apple, and other companies implicated in NSA data collection programs.

Nobody ever gives up power they once held sacred and secret out of their own good will or change of heart. It's a calculated and cynical move to reduce future harm and reduction of power.

Hat off to Holder and Clapper.