The United States government announced today that it will now release its own form of a transparency report, which is expected to debut later this fall.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced the change on his office’s Tumblr blog, saying that the decision came naturally after President Barack Obama ordered the declassification of as much intelligence information as possible. The transparency report will include total numbers for national security letters, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) business records requests, FISA pen register/trap and trace requests, and “FISA orders based on probably cause.”
The report was also inspired by the recent surveillance program leaks from former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden, according to an anonymous source speaking with the Washington Post.
Beyond just the total numbers of requests sent out, the report will also include the number of targets being investigated in each of these requests. The numbers will reflect the 12 months prior to the date published.
Google, Twitter, and Facebook all release their own forms of these reports. The companies have requested permission to release this sort of information in their reports, but have thus far been unable to. It seems the transparency report from the government also comes with the caveat that its “ability to discuss these activities is limited by our need to protect intelligence sources and methods.”