With privacy front and center on the minds of millions of connected Americans today, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other tech industry leaders and influencers have united to speak truth to power. The message? The time has come to responsibly tone down government surveillance.

In a letter drafted and distributed to members of the U.S. Senate this week, Cook - along with the CEOs of Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, and even Google - asks lawmakers to ensure that the USA Freedom Act more respectfully limits just how far government surveillance of Internet users can go in the United States today.

"In the next few weeks," the letter reads, "the Senate has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and pass a version of the USA Freedom Act that would help restore the confidence of Internet users here and around the world, while keeping citizens safe."

"Unfortunately," Cook and his fellow authors add, "the version that just passed the House of Representatives could permit bulk collection of Internet "metadata" (e.g. who you email and who emails you), something that the Administration and Congress said they intended to end. Moreover, while the House bill permits some transparency, it is critical to our customers that the bill allow companies to provide even greater detail about the number and type of government requests they receive for customer information."

To review the complete text of the letter, click here.

Source: Reform Government Surveillance