One of the many issues in the wake of NSA disclosures last week is whether large companies have been lying to consumers about the extent to which they protect our privacy. Andrew Ross Sorkin reports on that in the NY Times:
“They are in a very difficult position,” said Thomas A. Sporkin, a former S.E.C. enforcement official and now a partner at Buckley Sandler. “On one hand they want to project an image of protecting your privacy. On the other, they have statutory obligations to keep government programs confidential” or potentially risk criminal charges if they exposed a secret government program.
Companies could also face a problem if their disclosures were misleading to investors, but only if they materially affected the stock price or had some other adverse effect, lawyers said.
These companies did not just say “no comment.” They flat-out denied involvement. Mr. Sporkin said, “They are probably not being completely forthcoming, but they are probably not lying.” He noted that the statements were highly vetted by legal teams.
Read more in the NY Times.
Frankly, I’d prefer to see these companies have privacy policies that state, “Assume the government is getting all your communications because we would not be allowed to tell you about secret orders. Note that we don’t want to give them your records but we have to comply with the law.”