Apple, Google, Microsoft Sent An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress Over Surveillance

Posted by at 11:18 am on December 9, 2013

Eight U.S. tech companies have sent a joint letter to President Obama and Congress asking for changes in the way governments collect personal data through the web.

Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, and AOL all believe that the bulk collection methods used today have gone too far. Referencing details that were exposed by Edward Snowden earlier this year, the companies said, “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.”

The companies want governments to target individuals rather than everyone, and suggest that consumers and businesses alike will not use technology they don’t trust. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it,” said Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft. Microsoft recently said that it would increase the encryption it uses in an attempt to prevent government snooping.

In the letter, the companies suggest five principles of reform, including the use of an independent way to oversee national security and more freedom to offer details about government record requests publicly.

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