Bringing the Power of the Internet to the Next Billion and Beyond

Announcing Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Challenge, a $250,000 contest including expert mentorship to spark new ways to connect everyone to the Internet.

At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality. Today more than 4 billion people are still not online, according to the World Economic Forum. That is greater than 55% of the global population. Some, who live in poor or rural areas, lack the infrastructure. Fast wired and wireless connectivity only reaches 30% of rural areas. Other people don’t connect because they don’t believe there is enough relevant digital content in their language. Women are also less likely to access and use the Internet; only 37% access the Internet versus 59% of men, according to surveys by the World Wide Web Foundation.

Access alone, however, is not sufficient. Pre-selected content and walled gardens powered by specific providers subvert the participatory and democratic nature of the Internet that makes it such a powerful platform. Mitchell Baker coined the term equal rating in a 2015 blog post. Mozilla successfully took part in shaping pro-net neutrality legislation in the US, Europe and India. Today, Mozilla’s Open Innovation Team wants to inject practical, action-oriented, new thinking into these efforts.

This is why we are very excited to launch our global Equal Rating Innovation Challenge. This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the Next Billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge is focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals. Mozilla will award US$250,000 in funding and provide expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market.

Equal Rating Innovation ChallengeWe seek to engage entrepreneurs, designers, researchers, and innovators all over the world to propose creative, engaging and scalable ideas that cultivate digital literacy and provide affordable access to the full diversity of the open Internet. In particular, we welcome proposals that build on local knowledge and expertise. Our aim is to entertain applications from all over the globe.

The US$250,000 in prize monies will be split in three categories:

  • Best Overall (key metric: scalability)
  • Best Overall Runner-up
  • Most Novel Solution (key metric: experimental with potential high reward)

This level of funding may be everything a team needs to go to market with a consumer product, or it may provide enough support to unlock further funding for an infrastructure project.

The official submission period will run from 1 November to 6 January. All submissions will be judged by a group of external experts by mid January. The selected semifinalists will receive mentorship for their projects before they demo their ideas in early March. The winners will be announced at the end of March 2017.

Submisson Process

We have also launched, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. On the site, you will find the 3 key frameworks that may be useful for building understanding of the different aspects of this topic. You can read important statistics that humanize this issue, and see how connectivity influences gender dynamics, education, economics, and a myriad of other social issues. The reports section provides further depth to the different positions of the current debate. In the coming weeks, we will also stream a series of webinars to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details. We hope these webinars also provide opportunities for dialogue and questions.

Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organization or effort can tackle it alone. Spread the word. Submit your ideas to build innovative and scalable ways to bring Internet access to the Next Billion – and the other billions, as well. Please join us in addressing this grand challenge.

Further information:

Maker Party 2016: Stand Up for a Better Internet

Mozilla’s annual celebration of making online is challenging outdated copyright law in the EU. Here’s how you can participate

It’s that time of year: Maker Party.

Each year, Mozilla hosts a global celebration to inspire learning and making online. Individuals from around the world are invited. It’s an opportunity for artists to connect with educators; for activists to trade ideas with coders; and for entrepreneurs to chat with makers.

This year, we’re coming together with that same spirit, and also with a mission: To challenge outdated copyright laws in the European Union. EU copyright laws are at odds with learning and making online. Their restrictive nature undermines creativity, imagination, and free expression across the continent. Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer wrote about the details in her recent blog post.

By educating and inspiring more people to take action, we can update EU copyright law for the 21st century.

Over the past few months, everyday internet users have signed our petition and watched our videos to push for copyright reform. Now, we’re sharing copyright reform activities for your very own Maker Party.

Want to join in? Maker Party officially kicks-off today. Here are activities for your own Maker Party:

Be a #cczero Hero

In addition to all the amazing live events you can host or attend, we created a way for our global digital community to participate.

We’re planning a global contribute-a-thon to unite Mozillians around the world and grow the number of images in the public domain. We want to showcase what the open internet movement is capable of. And we’re making a statement when we do it: Public domain content helps the open internet thrive.

Check out our #cczero hero event page and instructions on contributing. You should be the owner of the copyright in the work. It can be fun, serious, artistic — whatever you’d like. Get started.

For more information on how to submit your work to the public domain or to Creative Commons, click here.


Post Crimes

Mozilla has created an app to highlight the outdated nature of some of the EU’s copyright laws, like the absurdity that photos of public landmarks can be unlawful. Try the Post Crimes web app: Take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower’s night-time light display, or the Little Mermaid in Denmark.

Then, send your selfie as a postcard to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Show European policymakers how outdated copyright laws are, and encourage them to forge reform. Get started.

Meme School

It’s absurd, but it’s true: Making memes may be technically illegal in some parts of the EU. Why? Exceptions for parody or quotation are not uniformly required by the present Copyright Directive.

Help Mozilla stand up for creativity, wit, and whimsy through memes! In this Maker Party activity, you and your friends will learn and discuss how complicated copyright law can be. Get started.


We can’t wait to see what you create this Maker Party. When you participate, you’re standing up for copyright reform. You’re also standing up for innovation, creativity, and opportunity online.

Promoting Cybersecurity Awareness

We are happy to support National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a global effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources they need to be safer, more secure and better able to protect their personal information online.

We’ve talked about how cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and that is the theme for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – the Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility. This means technology companies, governments, and even users have to work together to protect and improve the security of the Internet. We all have to do our part to make the Internet safer and more secure for everyone. This is a time for all Internet users to Stop. Think. Connect. This month, and all year long, we want to help you be more “CyberAware.”


Our responsibility as a technology company is to create secure platforms, build features that improve security, and empower people with education and resources to better protect their security. At Mozilla, we have security features like phishing and malware protection built into Firefox, Firefox Add-ons focused on cybersecurity, and a checkup site to make sure Firefox and all your add-ons and plugins up to date, just to name a few.

But, the increasing incidents we’ve seen in the news show that as cybersecurity efforts and technology protections advance, so do the threats against Internet security. Now, more than ever, each Internet user has a responsibility to protect themselves and help protect those around them.

What can you do?

There are lots of tips, tools, and resources available to you to help protect your privacy and security online. Try to take advantage of the resources available to increase your cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy skills. We believe that creating awareness and giving people access to the right tools to learn basic Web literacy skills — like reading, writing, and participating online — opens new opportunities to better utilize the Web for your needs.

We’ll list a few basic cybersecurity tips here, and you should also know how each of your devices, services, and accounts handles your private information.

These steps don’t just protect people who care about their own security, they help create a more secure Internet for the billions of people online.

The basic steps to protect your cybersecurity include: (here’s a fun infographic with these tips)

  • Lock down your login: Use strong passwords and the strongest authentication tools available to protect your online accounts and personal information.
  • Keep a clean machine: Make sure all your Internet connected devices, Web services, and apps are with up to date with the latest software and enable auto updates when you can.
  • Remember- Personal information is like money: Value it and protect it- everything from your location to purchase history. Be aware and in control of what information is shared about you online.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Cybercriminals are sneaky and often use links in email, social media, and ads to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, don’t click on it- delete it.
  • Share with Care: Think before your post. Consider who will see the post and how it might be perceived, now or in the future. And, don’t post something about someone else that you wouldn’t want posted about yourself.
  • Own Your Online Presence: Consider limiting how and with whom you share information online. Make sure to set your individual app and website privacy and security settings to meet your needs.

If you’re interested in more ways you can protect your digital privacy, you should check out the Consumer Reports 10 minute digital privacy tuneup that Mozilla contributed to, or for even more tips, you can read the full article with 66 ways to protect your privacy.

To get more information and resources to promote a safer, more secure, and more trusted Internet all month long, visit: Stop.Think.Connect, Stay Safe Online, and the European Cyber Security Month website.

You can join Mozilla, National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and others in a Stop. Think. Connect Twitter chat today at 12 pm PT for more about the basics of online safety. #CyberAware #ChatSTC. You can follow and use the official NCSAM hashtag #CyberAware on Twitter throughout the month.

We’ll also continue to share more about important cybersecurity topics throughout the month.


MOSS supports four more open source projects in Q3 2016 with $300k



If you have worked with data at Mozilla you have likely seen a data dashboard built with it. Re:dash is enabling Mozilla to become a truly data driven organization.
— Roberto Vitillo, Mozilla

In the third quarter, the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program has made awards to a number of “plumbing” projects – unobtrusive but essential initiatives which are part of the foundation for building software, building businesses and improving accessibility. This quarter, we awarded over $300k to four projects – three on Track 1 Foundational Technology for projects Mozilla already uses or deploys, and one on Track 2 Mission Partners for projects doing work aligned with our mission.

On the Foundational Technology track, we awarded $100,000 to Redash, a tool for building visualizations of data for better decision-making within organizations, and $50,000 to Review Board, software for doing web-based source code review. Both of these pieces of software are in heavy use at Mozilla. We also awarded $100,000 to Kea, the successor to the venerable ISC DHCP codebase, which deals with allocation of IP addresses on a network. Mozilla uses ISC DHCP, which makes funding its replacement a natural move even though we haven’t deployed it yet.


On the Mission Partners track, we awarded $56,000 to Speech Rule Engine, a code library which converts mathematical markup into vocalised form (speech) for the sight-impaired, allowing them to fully appreciate mathematical and scientific content on the web.

In addition to all that, we have completed another two MOSS Track 3 Secure Open Source audits, and have more in the pipeline. The first was for the dnsmasq project. Dnsmasq is another piece of Internet plumbing – an embedded server for the DNS and DHCP protocols, used in all mainstream Linux distros, Android, OpenStack, open router projects like openWRT and DD-WRT, and many commercial routers. We’re pleased to say only four issues were found, none of them severe. The second was for the venerable zlib project, a widely-used compression library, which also passed with flying colors.

Applications for Foundational Technology and  Mission Partners remain open, with the next batch deadline being the end of November 2016. Please consider whether a project you know could benefit from a MOSS award, and encourage them to apply. You can also submit a suggestion for a project which might benefit from an SOS audit.

Firefox’s Test Pilot Program Launches Three New Experimental Features

Earlier this year we launched our first set of experiments for Test Pilot, a program designed to give you access to experimental Firefox features that are in the early stages of development. We’ve been delighted to see so many of you participating in the experiments and providing feedback, which ultimately, will help us determine which features end up in Firefox for all to enjoy.

Since our launch, we’ve been hard at work on new innovations, and today we’re excited to announce the release of three new Test Pilot experiments. These features will help you share and manage screenshots; keep streaming video front and center; and protect your online privacy.

What Are The New Experiments?

Min Vid:

Keep your favorite entertainment front and center. Min Vid plays your videos in a small window on top of your other tabs so you can continue to watch while answering email, reading the news or, yes, even while you work. Min Vid currently supports videos hosted by YouTube and Vimeo.

Page Shot:

The print screen button doesn’t always cut it. The Page Shot feature lets you take, find and share screenshots with just a few clicks by creating a link for easy sharing. You’ll also be able to search for your screenshots by their title, and even the text captured in the image, so you can find them when you need them.

Tracking Protection:

We’ve had Tracking Protection in Private Browsing for a while, but now you can block trackers that follow you across the web by default. Turn it on, and browse free and breathe easy. This experiment will help us understand where Tracking Protection breaks the web so that we can improve it for all Firefox users.

How do I get started?

Test Pilot experiments are currently available in English only. To activate Test Pilot and help us build the future of Firefox, visit

As you’re experimenting with new features within Test Pilot, you might find some bugs, or lose some of the polish from the general Firefox release, so Test Pilot allows you to easily enable or disable features at any time.

Your feedback will help us determine what ultimately ends up in Firefox – we’re looking forward to your thoughts!

Help Fix Copyright: Send a Rebellious Selfie to European Parliament (Really!)

The EU’s proposed copyright reform keeps in place retrograde laws that make many normal online creative acts illegal. The same restrictive laws will stifle innovation and hurt technology businesses. Let’s fix it. Sign Mozilla’s petition, watch and share videos, and snap a rebellious selfie

Earlier this month, the EU Commission released their proposal for a reformed copyright framework. In response, we are asking everyone reading this post to take a rebellious selfie and send that doctored snapshot to EU Parliament. Seem ridiculous? So is an outdated law that bans taking and sharing selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower at night in Paris, or in front of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

Of course, no one is actually going to jail for subversive selfies. But the technical illegality of such a basic online act underscores the grave shortcomings in the EU’s latest proposal on copyright reform. As Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer noted in her last post on the proposed reform, it “thoroughly misses the goal to deliver a modern reform that would unlock creativity and innovation.” It doesn’t, for instance, include needed exceptions for panorama, parody, or remixing, nor does it include a clause that would allow noncommercial transformations of works (like remixes, or mashups) or a flexible user clause like an open norm, or fair dealing.

Translation? Making memes and gifs will remain an illicit act.

And that’s just the start. Exceptions for text and data mining are limited to public institutions. This could stifle startups looking to online data to build innovative businesses. Then there is the dangerous “neighbouring right,” similar to the ancillary copyright laws we’ve seen in Spain and Germany (which have been clear failures, respectively). This misguided part of the reform would allow online publishers to copyright “press publications” for up to 20 years, with retroactive effect. The vague wording makes it unclear exactly to whom and for whom this new exclusive right would apply.

Finally, another unclear provision would require any internet service that provides access to “large amounts” of works to users to broker agreements with rightsholders for the use of, and protection of, their works. This could include the use of “effective content recognition technologies” — which imply universal monitoring and strict filtering technologies that identify and/or remove copyrighted content.

These proposals, if adopted as they are, would deal a blow to EU startups, to independent coders, creators, and artists, and to the health of the internet as a driver for economic growth and innovation.

We’re not advocating plagiarism or piracy. Creators must be treated fairly, including proper remuneration, for their creations and works. Mozilla wants to improve copyright for everyone,  so individuals are not discouraged from creating and innovating.

Mozilla isn’t alone in our objections: Over 50,000 individuals have signed our petition and demanded modern copyright laws that foster creativity, innovation, and opportunity online.

We have our work cut out for us. As the European Parliament revises the proposal this fall, we need a movement — a collection of passionate internet users who demand better, modern laws. Today, Mozilla is launching a public education campaign to support that movement.


Mozilla has created an app to highlight the absurdity of some of Europe’s outdated copyright laws. Try Post Crimes: Take a selfie in front of European landmarks that can be technically unlawful to photograph — like the Eiffel Tower’s night-time light display, or the Little Mermaid in Denmark — due to restrictive copyright laws.

Then, send your selfie as a postcard to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Show European policymakers how outdated copyright laws are, and encourage them to forge a more future-looking and innovation-friendly copyright reform.

We’ve also created three short videos that outline the need for reform. They’re educational, playful, and a little bit weird — just like the internet. But they explore a serious issue: The harmful effect outdated and restrictive copyright laws have on our creativity and the open internet. We hope you’ll watch them and share them with others.

We need your help standing up for better copyright laws. When you sign the petition, snap a selfie, or share our videos, you’re supporting creativity, innovation and opportunity online — for everyone.

Latest Firefox Expands Multi-Process Support and Delivers New Features for Desktop and Android

With the change of the season, we’ve worked hard to release a new version of Firefox that delivers the best possible experience across desktop and Android.

Expanding Multiprocess Support

Last month, we began rolling out the most significant update in our history, adding multiprocess capabilities to Firefox on desktop, which means Firefox is more responsive and less likely to freeze. In fact, our initial tests show a 400% improvement in overall responsiveness.

Our first phase of the rollout included users without add-ons. In this release, we’re expanding support for a small initial set of compatible add-ons as we move toward a multiprocess experience for all Firefox users in 2017.

Desktop Improvement to Reader Mode

This update also brings two improvements to Reader Mode. This feature strips away clutter like buttons, ads and background images, and changes the page’s text size, contrast and layout for better readability. Now we’re adding the option for the text to be read aloud, which means Reader Mode will narrate your favorite articles, allowing you to listen and browse freely without any interruptions.

We also expanded the ability to customize in Reader Mode so you can adjust the text and fonts, as well as the voice. Additionally, if you’re a night owl like some of us, you can read in the dark by changing the theme from light to dark.

Offline Page Viewing on Android

On Android, we’re now making it possible to access some previously viewed pages when you’re offline or have an unstable connection. This means you can interact with much of your previously viewed content when you don’t have a connection. The feature works with many pages, though it is dependent on your specific device specs. Give it a try by opening Firefox while your phone is in airplane mode.

We’re continuing to work on updates and new features that make your Firefox experience even better. Download the latest Firefox for desktop and Android and let us know what you think.

Commission Proposal to Reform Copyright is Inadequate

The draft directive released today thoroughly misses the goal to deliver a modern reform that would unlock creativity and innovation in the Single Market.

Today the EU Commission released their proposal for a reformed copyright framework. What has emerged from Brussels is disheartening. The proposal is more of a regression than the reform we need to support European businesses and Internet users.

To date, over 30,000 citizens have signed our petition urging the Commission to update EU copyright law for the 21st century. The Commission’s proposal needs substantial improvement.  We collectively call on the EU institutions to address the many deficits in the text released today in subsequent iterations of this political process.

The proposal fails to bring copyright in line with the 21st century

The proposal does little to address much-needed exceptions to copyright law. It provides some exceptions for education and preservation of cultural heritage. Still, a new exception for text and data mining (TDM), which would advance EU competitiveness and research, is limited to public interest research institutions (Article 3). This limitation could ultimately restrict, rather than accelerate, TDM to unlock research and innovation across sectors throughout Europe.

These exceptions are far from sufficient. There are no exceptions for panorama, parody, or remixing. We also regret that provisions which would add needed flexibility to the copyright system — such as a UGC (user-generated content) exception and an flexible user clause like an open norm, fair dealing or fair use — have not been included. Without robust exceptions, and provisions that bring flexibility and a future-proof element, copyright law will continue to chill innovation and experimentation.

Pursuing the ‘snippet tax’ on the EU level will undermine competition, access to knowledge

The proposal calls for ancillary copyright protection, or a ‘snippet tax’. Ancillary copyright would allow online publishers to copyright ‘press publications’, which is broadly defined to cover works that have the purpose of providing “information related to news or other topics and published in any media under the initiative, editorial responsibility and control of a service provider” (Article 2(4)). This content would remain under copyright for 20 years after its publication — an eternity online. This establishment of a new exclusive right would limit the free flow of knowledge, cripple competition, and hinder start-ups and small- and medium-sized businesses. It could, for example, require bloggers linking out to other sites to pay new and unnecessary fees for the right to direct additional traffic to existing sites, even though having the snippet would benefit both sides.

Ancillary copyright has already failed miserably in both Germany and Spain. Including such an expansive exclusive right at the EU level is puzzling.

The proposal establishes barriers to entry for startups, coders, and creators

Finally, the proposal calls for an increase in intermediaries’ liability. Streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, and Vimeo, or any ISPs that “provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users” (Article 13(1)), will be obliged to broker agreements with rightsholders for the use of, and protection of their works. Such measures could include the use of “effective content recognition technologies”, which imply universal monitoring and strict filtering technologies that identify and/or remove copyrighted content. This is technically challenging — and more importantly, would disrupt the very foundations that make many online activities possible in the EU. For example, putting user generated content in the crosshairs of copyright takedowns. Only the largest companies would be able to afford the complex software required to comply if these measures are deemed obligatory, resulting in a further entrenchment of the power of large platforms at the expense of EU startups and free expression online.

These proposals, if adopted as they are, would deal a blow to EU startups, to independent coders, creators, and artists, and to the health of the internet as a driver for economic growth and innovation. The Parliament certainly has its work cut out for it. We reiterate the call from 24 organisations in a joint letter expressing many of these concerns and urge the European Commission to publish the results of the Related rights and Panorama exception public consultation.

We look forward to working toward a copyright reform that takes account of the range of stakeholders who are affected by copyright law. And we will continue to advocate for an EU copyright reform that accelerates innovation and creativity in the Digital Single Market.

Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility

There have been far too many “incidents” recently that demonstrate the Internet is not as secure as it needs to be. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen countless headlines about online security breaches. From the alleged hack of the National Security Agency’s “cyberweapons” to the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, and even recent iPhone security vulnerabilities, these stories reinforce how crucial it is to focus on security.

Internet security is like a long chain and each link needs to be tested and re-tested to ensure its strength. When the chain is broken, bad things happen: a website that holds user credentials (e.g., email addresses and passwords) is compromised because of weak security; user credentials are stolen; and, those stolen credentials are then used to attack other websites to gain access to even more valuable information about the user.

One weak link can break the chain of security and put Internet users at risk. The chain only remains strong if technology companies, governments, and users work together to keep the Internet as safe as it can be.

Technology companies must focus on security.

Technology companies need to develop proactive, pro-user cybersecurity technology solutions.

We must invest in creating a secure platform. That means supporting things like adopting and standardizing secure protocols, building features that improve security, and empowering users with education and better tools for their security.

At Mozilla, we have security features like phishing and malware protection built into Firefox. We started one of the first Bug Bounty programs in 2004 because we want to be informed about any vulnerabilities found in our software so we can fix them quickly. We also support the security of the broader open source ecosystem (not just Mozilla developed products). We launched the Secure Open Source (SOS) Fund as part of the Mozilla Open Source Support program to support security audits and the development of patches for widely used open source technologies.

Still, there is always room for improvement. The recent headlines show that the threat to user safety online is real, and it’s increasing. We can all do better, and do more.

Governments must work with technology companies.  

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and governments need to do their part. Governments need to help by supporting security solutions that no individual company can tackle, instead of advancing policies that just create weak links in the chain.

Encryption, something we rely on to keep people’s information secure online everyday, is under attack by governments because of concerns that it inadvertently protects the bad guys. Some governments have proposed actions that weaken encryption, like in the case between Apple and the FBI earlier this year. But encryption is not optional – and creating backdoors for governments, even for investigations, compromises the security of all Internet users.

The Obama Administration just appointed the first Federal Chief Information Security officer as part of the Cybersecurity National Action Plan. I’m looking forward to seeing how this role and other efforts underway can help government and technology companies work better together, especially in the area of security vulnerabilities. Right now, there’s not a clear process for how governments disclose security vulnerabilities they discover to affected companies.

While lawful hacking by a government might offer a way to catch the bad guys, stockpiling vulnerabilities for long periods of time can further weaken that security chain. For example, the recent alleged attack and auction of the NSA’s “cyberweapons” resulted in the public release of code, files, and “zero day” vulnerabilities that gave companies like Cisco and Fortinet just that- zero days to develop fixes before they were possibly exploited by hackers. There aren’t transparent and accountable policies in place that ensure the government is handling vulnerabilities appropriately and disclosing them to affected companies. We need to make this a priority to protect user security online.

Users can take easy and simple steps to strengthen the security chain.   

Governments and companies can’t do this without you. Users should always update their software to benefit from new security features and fixes, create strong passwords to guard your private information, and use available resources to become educated digital citizens. These steps don’t just protect people who care about their own security, they help create a more secure system and go a long way in making it harder to break the chain.

Working together is the only way to protect the security of the Internet for the billions of people online. We’re dedicated to this as part of our mission and we will continue our work to advance these issues.

Fighting Back Against Secrecy Orders

Mozilla today is joining a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Lithium, and Twilio, in filing an amicus brief in support of Microsoft’s case against indiscriminate use of gag orders. Such orders prevent companies from notifying users about government requests for their data.

Transparency is the core pillar for everything we do at Mozilla. It is foundational to how we build our products, with an open code base that anybody can inspect, and is critical to our vision of an open, trusted, secure web that places users in control of their experience online. Our reform efforts in the areas of vulnerability disclosure and government surveillance are also centered on the transparency ideal.

And transparency  – or more appropriately the lack thereof – is why we care about this case.  When requesting user data, these gag orders are sometimes issued without the government demonstrating why the gag order is necessary. Worse yet, the government often issues indefinite orders that prevent companies from notifying users even years later, long after everyone would agree the gag order is no longer needed. These actions needlessly sacrifice transparency without justification. That’s foolish and unacceptable.

We have yet to receive a gag order that would prevent us from notifying a user about a request for data. Nonetheless, we believe it is wrong for the government to indefinitely delay a company from providing user notice. We said this when we released our transparency report in May, and we said then that we would take steps to enforce this belief. That is just what we’ve done today.