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
Kylie Jenner challenge: Strange lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
International Space Station could be fitted with huge lasers to shoot down space junk
Loch Ness Monster: Google Maps unveils Doodle and Nessie Street View
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful web design/deve...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...