Thanks, Snowden! Now all major tech companies reveal how often they give data to the government.
Google has been pumping out a transparency report for years, telling its users how often the feds and local law enforcement ask for information about its users. Up until this year, it was one of the few companies that did so. Then Edward Snowden happened. Amid allegations of programs like PRISM and the intel community having backdoor taps to the country’s most popular Internet companies — allegations the companies denied — Silicon Valley’s heavyweights started using transparency as a damage control tactic. Yahoo, Apple, and Facebook released transparency reports for the very first time this fall. Now there is a fuller industry perspective on how often these companies get government search queries and how many of their users are affected.