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Google challenges gag orders

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests it makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government.

The legal filing, which cites the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about sweeping National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic.

Google, one of nine companies named in NSA documents as providing information to the top-secret PRISM program, has demanded that officials give it more leeway to describe the company's relationship with the government. Google and the other companies involved have sought to reassure users that their privacy is being protected from unwarranted intrusions.

In the petition, Google is seeking permission to publish the total numbers of requests the court makes of the company, as well as the number of user accounts they affect.

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