Tech group asks 21 countries to disclose surveillance requests

The group wants to publish more information about surveillance requests from countries committed to Internet freedom

Countries that have pledged to support Internet freedom should allow technology vendors to report the number of electronic surveillance requests they receive, a tech advocacy group said Thursday.

The Global Network Initiative, whose members include Facebook, Google and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has made the request to the 21 governments in the Freedom Online Coalition.

The governments include those of the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Ireland. As part of the coalition, they have committed to work together to advance Internet freedom.

The GNI helps tech companies navigate government pressure that may conflict with privacy and free speech. Other members include Yahoo, Microsoft and the Center for Democracy and Technology. The GNI did not release the text of the letters it sent to the governments.

Its request follows petitions filed by Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court this month, in an effort to reveal more information about government surveillance requests.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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