WikiLeaks demands answers from Google over sending staff emails to NSA

26 Jan 2015

Wikileaks van image via Chris Wieland/Flickr

WikiLeaks is turning the screw against Google by sending an open letter to the internet search giant, protesting the reasons it handed the NSA emails from Google staff in March 2012.

In their letter addressed to Google’s executive chairperson, Eric Schmidt, WikiLeaks member and director for the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, said the group were initially ‘astonished and disturbed’ by the revelations that it took two-and-a-half years to quietly declare that it had been snooping on staff.

According to The Guardian, Google announced the news that it had accepted a request from the US Department of Justice to effectively send to them all information they had, including emails and IP addresses, on three of Google’s staff who were also working with WikiLeaks including an investigations editor, one of its senior editors and the group’s spokesperson.

Google responded to the criticism soon after the news was slipped under the radar to say that the reason it had waited that long to publish the details was because they were placed on a gag order which was lifted, without any explicit reason given for its lifting.

Now in their letter, the group are putting forward a number of demands for the company, particularly with regard to why it had decided to give in to the NSA demands and did Google issue any legal challenges to the US government accessing details of its employees.

Speaking to The Guardian, A Google spokesperson said that they followed the same legal practice as they would when faced with a subpoena, “When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if it doesn’t we can object or ask that the request is narrowed. We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic