It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s always nice to see two tech giants set aside their differences for a greater cause. This time, Microsoft and Google have come together to file a lawsuit against the federal government to let them speak more freely about the data they collect from their users relating to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The government announced this week that it would finally begin publishing requests for consumer data once a year, but in a blog post published on Friday Microsoft and Google said that “the public deserves and the Constitution guarantees more than this first step.”
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith went into more detail and said that the government should release information that “shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email.” Amid reports that the NSA has access to 75% of internet traffic, Microsoft and Google want to make the government’s spying operations more transparent. Smith notes that negotiations to secure this information have failed repeatedly, which led to the lawsuit.
“Over the past several weeks Microsoft and Google have pursued these talks in consultation with others across the technology sector,” he said. “With the failure of our recent negotiations, we will move forward with litigation in the hope that the courts will uphold our right to speak more freely. And with a growing discussion on Capitol Hill, we hope Congress will continue to press for the right of technology companies to disclose relevant information in an appropriate way.”