Re: Of course
Typically I find that the more detail in any text, the more caveats, exceptions and loopholes it can contain. If IBM do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents they just needed to say:
"we do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents"
Of course this is clearly not the case as we know that if subpoenaed, they have to turn that information over. And one other thing that Schneier does not pouint out is that although IBM claims that they will legally challenge certain requests for data, there is no guarantee that they will win such challenges, nor that tehy will be allowed to talk about it. So at best IBM could say:
"we do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents, except as required by law"
But because S law now contains banana-republic style codicils that include gagging orders, everyone knows that "except as required by law" could mean anything. Hence the long-winded weaselly worded statement.
Completely in agreement with Schneier here - why not just be honest with your customers and say
"Hello, IBM here. We're being bent over a barrel and shafted by current US gov laws requiring us to turn over customer data based on just the say-so of a secret and unaccountable court, and by the way we can't even say whether we have ever even been subject to such requests, but you know they just *might* have happened".
Of course that's no different to any other company operating in the US