Google Gets Testy With the Obama Administration: On the company blog, Google chief legal officer David Drummond appeals to US Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that while Google complies with the law, recent claims that Google grants the "U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue." But how can Google prove it if their lips are sealed? Drummond makes a direct request: "We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope. Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide."
Microsoft and Twitter Get Testy: The corporations are asking the Feds to let them disclose details about secret data requests—which I suppose would make them not-secret data requests:
Microsoft and Twitter have joined calls by Google and Facebook to be able to publish more detail about how many secret requests they receive to hand over user data under the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa). "Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including Fisa orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues," Microsoft said in an emailed statement to the Reuters news agency.
Amid a growing outcry over American snooping on foreigners that threatens to cloud European-U.S. trade talks and President Barack Obama’s visit to Berlin, the European Union’s top justice official has demanded in unusually sharp terms that the United States reveal what its intelligence is doing with personal information of Europeans gathered under the Prism surveillance program revealed last week. ...
Speaking for a continent where snooping carries ghastly echoes of fascist or communist regimes, [Viviane Reding, the Union’s combative commissioner of justice] challenged Mr. Holder to answer a list of detailed questions by Friday, when they are expected to speak face-to-face in Dublin at a ministerial meeting scheduled before the Prism spy operation came to light.
Pope Francis: He's concerned with a "gay lobby" in the Vatican.
A Snowballing History of Mass Surveillance: Starting with the creation of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, aka FISA, in 1978 to, followed by decades of silence and then ramping up in the last decade. It last week's post by ProPublica, but a must-read.
Federal Judge: Sides with a protester arrested in front of the US Supreme Court, which the defendant's lawyers celebrated as a "lifeline to the First Amendment."
Shoot and a Miss: Woman tries to thwart burglary suspect with her gun.
A Man a Plan a Canal… Nicaragua: A Chinese-backed company wants to dig a 130-mile canal that will compete with the Panama Canal, usurping an estimated 4.5 percent of the world's maritime freight traffic but failing to satisfy palindrome lovers.
No Shit Headline of the Day: "Study finds voice-controlled interfaces distract drivers."