SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is asking the Obama administration for permission to disclose more information about requests it gets from national intelligence agencies for its users' emails and other online communications.
The technology giant made the request in a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on Tuesday.
Google is trying to counteract damaging media reports that the company allows the National Security Agency access to users' online communications.
"Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue," Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in a blog post. "However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation."
Google and other technology companies came under scrutiny last week after a government contractor leaked confidential documents revealing that the NSA has been receiving information from Google and other services, including data from U.S. phone call records and online communications to and from foreign targets.