Google, Facebook and Twitter among top tech firms calling for sweeping reforms to US surveillance
The group, including Microsoft, Google and Apple, say that the balance has tipped "in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual"
Eight of the world’s leading technology companies have called on the US government to implement sweeping reforms to the country’s surveillance policy and put a halt to the “bulk data collection of Internet communications.”
Aol, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo have formed a coalition in what is the business world’s most concerted public condemnation of government surveillance to date.
“We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens,” writes the US-based group in an open letter published online and in papers this Monday. “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 favour 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.”
The proposals come after documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which US and UK agencies spy on citizens worldwide, often without legal oversight.
“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”
The companies have outlined five “reform principles” that they wish the US government to adopt, with a general aim of limiting indiscriminate surveillance and increasing public transparency and accountability.
The firms also make it clear that their commercial interests are at stake, arguing that “the ability of data to flow or be accessed across borders is essential to a robust 21st century global economy” and that users have lost faith in the security of their data.
“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,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
“Today we join our colleagues in the tech industry calling on the United States Congress to change surveillance laws in order to ensure transparency and accountability for government actions."
The group's letter and policy reforms can be read in full here.
Life & Style blogs
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
Inside A&E: The highs, the lows, and the grief is something that echoes across all hospitals around the world
Rita Ora reveals all – from her 24 tattoos to what she likes to wear when no-one's looking
American Apparel’s model agency leaked casting call saying it wants ‘real models’ not ‘Instagram hoes’
Just three alcoholic drinks a day increase chances of liver cancer
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...
£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Technical Analyst required for ...