Tech Companies Call For Surveillance Reform
A coalition of the nation’s leading technology companies signed an open letter urging world governments to “address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”
The letter—undersigned by AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo—calls for a change in surveillance policy.
“While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed,” said the statement.
The companies’ concerns come from leaks released by Edward Snowden earlier this year which detailed different methods of digital surveillance and espionage employed by the National Security Agency. Since then, communication companies in the tech industry have made efforts to influence public perception on their involvement with organizations like the NSA.
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith expressed his concerns regarding on consumer confidence after Snowden’s leaks. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” he said. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”
The joint statement maintains that governments should be limited in their authority to collect user data, and should be “subject to strong checks and balances.” It also encourages transparency regarding government protocol when surveying info, as well as an overall respect for freedom in the flow of information in the digital age and an instinct to operate lawfully in the jurisdiction of other nations.
Although the call to action seems genuine and might have a chance to curb national policy, NSA officials have previously dismissed even concerns from Congress, justifying their actions by citing a need for national security.