The Internet makes possible unprecedented levels of transparency. That is why it all the more disconcerting that large government programs operate entirely in secret. Nick Grossman has an important post up today on the USV blog about starting by giving companies the right to disclose government information requests and also requiring government to provide the same information. Here is a key section:
We can start to do this by being open about the extent of data sharing between internet companies and governments. Google pioneered this approach in 2010 with theirTransparency Report, and Twitter has done the same since 2012. However, it has become clear over the past month that even when a transparent relationship with their users about the use of user data is an important brand promise, companies are prevented by the government from delivering on that promise when confronted byForeign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests and National Security Letters.