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  • Apple and Other Tech Giants Call for Government Surveillance Reform


    Apple along with other tech giants have signed their names to an open letter addressed to President Obama and members of Congress, calling for substantial reforms to the regulation and oversight of surveillance performed by agencies like the NSA. The letter reaffirms the tech giants’ opposition to the large-scale surveillance operations carried out by the NSA and foreign counterparts such as Britain’s GCHQ, going as far as saying the operations have tipped the balance of power “too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual” and arguing that unfettered surveillance “undermines the freedoms we all cherish.”

    The tech giants that joined Apple include AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. Readers are directed to an accompanying website - ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com - which lays out five principles the group believes governments should consider during the drafting of legislation. The five policies that are designed “with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight," according to the website.

    The most recent letter will appear in the form of a full-page advertisement in the Monday editions of The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, Roll Call, and The Hill, among others. It isn’t the first public word from Apple on the issue either. Following the revelation of the NSA’s PRISM data collection program in June, of which Apple was said to be a participant, the company issued a rare public statement entitled “Apple’s Commitment to Customer Privacy” in which they reiterated that they “do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order.”

    Following this issue, Apple joined with 62 other public companies, non-profits and trade-groups, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook, to demand that the government allow companies to be more transparent about the number of scope requests they receive for users’ data. This request was followed in November by a new “Report on Government Information Requests” that brought more attention on exactly how many requests It receives from intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    For those of you who are interested, the full letter can be read below:

    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

    Sincerely,

    AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo
    Source: The Wall Street Journal
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple and Other Tech Giants Call for Government Surveillance Reform started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Airwaves182's Avatar
      Airwaves182 -
      Good job tech giants

      mod edit/comment removed.
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Oh please, president Obama is the NSA's biggest supporter, and now he's on his last term. So don't expect him to do anything!
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      Kudos!
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Wow. So what you're telling me is nothing is going to change?! Amazing. Haha.