AOL, Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Microsoft launch campaign for NSA reforms

Monday, 9 December 2013 - 3:00pm IST Updated: Monday, 9 December 2013 - 3:01pm IST | Place: Washington, DC | Agency: PTI

Setting aside their differences, top American technology companies including AOL, Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Microsoft, have joined hands to press the Obama Administration and the Congress to reform the secretive National Security Agency.

The agency is in controversy following the leak of classified documents that it was indulged in massive telephone and internet surveillance both inside and outside the US, at time sneaking into the private communications on people, compromising the security settings of these technology giants.

"This summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide," these firms wrote in an open letter to the US President and Members of the Congress in national print advertisements today.

"The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour 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," the letter said.

As such, technology giants urged 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.

"We are focused on keeping user's 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," the letter said.

It said US surveillance programs shouldn't keep American tech companies from operating internationally, including in countries that oppose US access to their citizens' data.

"Protecting the privacy of our users is incredibly important to Yahoo. Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world," said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

"The security of users' data is critical, which is why we've invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information," said Google CEO Larry Page.


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