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Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter issue open letter to President Obama to curtail an NSA run amok

Posted: , posted by Daniel P.

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NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland

NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland

The Silicon Valley giants are taking the NSA snooping matter in their own hands. Fully aware about the damage on their reputation as US companies, done by what started with the inconspicuously named Patriot Act, and extended to overarching electronics surveillance by the NSA, they issued an open letter to President Obama and Congress with the following content:

An open letter to Washington

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. 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 favor 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.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com


AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

We guess the news that NSA under General Keith Alexander went as far as tapping the underseas cables that transport the internet traffic to companies like Google and Microsoft was the last drop. General Alexander was announced to be resigning from his duties as NSA chief, but the systems he built are likely still operational, and Microsoft already took measures to encrypt the traffic to and from its servers against NSA surveillance

Now with the open letter of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL and Yahoo, the tech giants, which represent quite a large chunk of US GDP, are urging for more transparency. Who can blame them - under the gag orders from the secretive FISA court, they can't mention how many requests for disclosing information they are getting by the NSA, let alone the snooping specifics, which might result in exodus of users looking for spy-free alternatives.

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posted on 09 Dec 2013, 03:23 14

1. skuld (Posts: 44; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)

united as one!

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:05 4

5. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 906; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

About time! They should have done this last year and pushed their lobbyists to fight this from the start as well as the safe return of Snowden with immunity.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 20:52 2

9. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1362; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

How about we the people stand up and fight for our own rights. We can complain on these tech sites but won't get off our asses to send congress a letter to repeal that busted patriot act thats strips you the people of the rights that the founding fathers wrote into the United States Constitution.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 21:49

11. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 906; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

There is already a petition to treat email with the same rights that are provided for in regular mail. I have already signed it and suggest others here to do the same.

There are others but sadly the will of the people means little nowadays compared to the money of the companies and lobbyists.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 23:55

12. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

The government takes pictures of mail as well. Poor man's metadata.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 03:28 11

2. android_hitman (unregistered)

that's crap. they just want to cover their asses

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 07:07 1

6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

What everyone of those companies are silent about is that they provide their data to the alphabet agencies (not just NSA) every day. It just requires a court order. NSA just didn't want to be bothered with the court order routine.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 03:36 3

3. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Yes, more transparency is needed for sure.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 03:54 7

4. alterecho (Posts: 1099; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

Even if the US government accepts, these people are gonna believe their word?
Its just an eyewash for the public.
If they were able to tap into the underwater cables, tapping into buildings on land is nothing.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 07:21 1

7. Obama (Posts: 13; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)

lol yeah right!

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 10:21 3

8. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

Once upon a time, there was the land of the free, home of the brave. But now, it is imprisoned by fear of what is without and there are no braves to stand up to tyranny within.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 20:58 5

10. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1362; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

Sounds like Nazi Germany all over again reeling it's ugly head ever so gently. Remember Hitler wanted to protect the citizens of Germany from others as well. Today the word terrorism is used to get you to feel that you need big brother to strip you of your rights to protect you from something that really doesn't exist.

Who is protecting us from Government going the way of a totalitarian police state ever so slowly? Food for thought for those sleeping or unaware.

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