In a disclosure which marks the first of its kind revelation about government requests made to any leading Internet service provider, Google said in its Tuesday-released Transparency Report that, in 2012, it received less than 1,000 `National Security Letters' (NSLs) from federal authorities.
According to Google, the NSLs - which comprise letters written by US government agencies - received by the company from federal authorities in 2012 sought financial as well as communications details of up to nearly 2,000 individuals.
With the NSLs sometimes referred to as "warrrantless requests," Google revealed in its report that the requests for between 1,000 to 1,999 users or accounts in 2012 shows that there was a reduction in requests vis-a-vis the 2010 figures, when information was sought for up to 2,999 users.
Against the backdrop of the NSLs which Google received from federal authorities in 2012, Richard Salgado - the company's legal director for Law Enforcement and Information Security said in a blog post that though the FBI has the power to prohibit firms from making a public disclosure about the NSLs, Google been looking for ways for providing more details about the NSLs it receives, especially since concerns have been voiced by people over the increase in use of NSLs after the unfortunate 9/11 incident.
Noting that Google with, from the latest report onwards, include data about NSLs in our Transparency Report, Salgado said: "We're thankful to U. S. government officials for working with us to provide greater insight into the use of NSLs."