The Conversation

Tech Companies Unite, Push Back on NSA Surveillance

America's tech giants have joined forces to ask the Obama administration to reign in the scope of government surveillance. In a letter published today, the tech companies write they "believe that it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information."

The letter is signed by AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo and urges "the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight."

The entire letter reads: 

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com

Sincerely,

AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

"Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world," Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Several bills are under consideration on the Hill, like USA Freedom Act, that restricts the collection of data by the National Security Agency.  But in a statement last month, the NSA asserted that its surveillance efforts are directed toward foreign targets, "not on collecting and exploiting a class of communications or services that would sweep up communications that are not of bona fide foreign intelligence interest to the U.S. government."


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