Tech companies disclose secret government data requests

The U.S. government has promised to act within the law

Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other tech companies have started outing details about the number of secret requests they have received from government agencies over the past year.

Web companies are disclosing the number of requests they have received from agencies for user data in an attempt to illustrate government pressure.

Between 15,000 and 16,000 Microsoft users were subject to data request orders, Reuters reports, while 9,000 to 10,000 accounts were highlighted in a request sent to Google. Yahoo received the most, with data requests for 30,000 of its users.

Documents released by Snowden have created a rift between tech companies and the government, especially after revelations that the NSA had illegally broken into company communications and data centres belonging to Google and Yahoo.

Breaking the law

The U.S. government has said that it will relax laws on companies in the wake of legal action by companies Microsoft and Facebook. Despite this, many are still not happy.

"Despite the President's reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post. "We believe the Constitution requires that our government seek information from American companies within the rule of law."

While the requests affect only a tiny percentage of the hundreds of millions of users each company has, they maintain that they will continue to post information on any government action in regards to their users. The rift between the tech industry and the agencies appears to show no sign of closing.