Tech Giants Unite Against NSA Spying Program

by Istvan Fekete on November 1, 2013

If there is something that can connect Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and AOL, it is the NSA’s mass-surveillance program. No, I’m not trying to say all of them have complied with the NSA’s requirements – although some evidence shows just that. Instead, these tech giants have united to fight the NSA’s surveillance program and ask for transparency.

The tech giants wrote a letter to the lead members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday urging lawmakers to reform the NSA surveillance practices. Furthermore, they have asked for additional oversight and accountability mechanisms for the spy programs.

“Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done,” the letter reads. “We urge the Administration to work with Congress in addressing these critical reforms that would provide much needed transparency and help rebuild the trust of Internet users around the world.”

The NSA’s biggest surveillance program was unveiled by Edward Snowden, back in June. The leaked documents shed light on the government’s collection of data on US and other residents through both cellular records and metadata from Internet companies.

Since the first document hit the press, thousands more documents have been leaked. The Obama administration’s response: the surveillance program must go on, because it protects Americans and is used to track down terrorists.

The letter also applauds Sen. Patrick J. Leahy and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., who have sponsored a bill called the USA Freedom Act, which aims to end eavesdropping, dragnet collection, and online monitoring by the NSA and other government agencies.

“As companies whose services are used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, we welcome the debate about how to protect both national security and privacy interests and we applaud the sponsors of the USA Freedom Act for making an important contribution to this discussion,” the letter reads.

Also, companies are looking to reassure users that the NSA has not gained access to their user data. I believe it is all about trust: if you trust their word that they haven’t allowed the NSA access, then they haven’t; if you don’t, you’d better look for alternatives.

The letter signed by the tech companies reiterates their request to release more information to the public. “We also continue to encourage the Administration to increase its transparency efforts and allow us to release more information about the number and types of requests that we receive,” the letter reads, “so that the public debate on these issues can be informed by facts about how these programs operate.”

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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