Just how many people were spied on??
Internet companies are fighting to restore public trust. In the wake of the NSA spying scandal, corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook wanted to release details on internet surveillance. Finally, after a six-month delay and a lengthy legal argument, these corporations have been permitted to release some information. According to Google, government officials requested information on more than 9,000 users in the first six months of 2013, and more than 12,000 users in the six months before that.
Facebook was forced to hand over information on more than 5,000 users in the first half of last year, and more than 4,000 in the last part of 2012. Microsoft received more than 15,000 requests for information in the first half of 2013, and Yahoo revealed that government officials requested information on more than 30,000 users during that same time period. While these numbers prove that government officials were not requesting detailed information on every user, they also prove that thousands of people are, in fact, being spied on.
We haven’t heard about 30,000 foiled terrorism attempts, or 9,000 links to terrorist cells. Many of the accounts being spied on were likely innocent Americans that simply have a friend or family member overseas. National Security officials will attempt to point to these numbers as proof of the limits placed on government surveillance, but there is no good reason why thousands of internet users should be spied on without a warrant.