Skip to comments.Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook call for NSA muzzle - the privacy rights of the public.
Posted on 12/09/2013 8:19:22 AM PST by dennisw
Summary: The Reform Government Surveillance group, an alliance between eight major technology firms, aims to persuade the U.S. government to stop undermining the privacy rights of the general public.
Household names including Apple and Google have formally called for changes to U.S. surveillance practices and policy, arguing that current operations undermine the freedom of people.
Eight companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and LinkedIn have formed an alliance called the Reform Government Surveillance group. Although usually fierce competitors, the group have come together in agreement over the U.S. government's spying programs -- brought to light by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden -- and have formally requested "wide-scale changes" to the regime.
See also: Tech giants push surveillance reform: What wasn't said
Snowden's revelations have included alleged wiretapping, the storage of phone call records illegally, fibre-optic cable infiltration used to monitor communication on an international scale, and the use of malware to monitor computer networks by the U.S. agency.
According to the latest document leak, the NSA is gathering close to 5 billion records a day on cellular devices worldwide. The Washington Post says large amounts of domestic data is "incidentally" recorded, which allows the agency to track millions of people worldwide based on how and where mobile devices are used.
On the alliance's website, an open letter to President Obama and Congress signed by the firms acknowledges that governments have "a duty to protect their citizens," but argues that Snowden's information leaks over the practices of the NSA and U.S. government in wholesale spying have highlighted "the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the revelations show a "real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information." Brad Smith, Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft said that "surveillance should address specific, suspicious targets under defined legal process rather than bulk collection of Internet communications."
Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, said "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." Google CEO and chairman Larry Page commented that user data security was "critical" for firms, but this has been "undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world."
"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," the letter states. "This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for a change."
That is a laugh in one respect. They all respect privacy on a level equal to the NSA.
Kettle calling the pot black. I don’t trust any of these organizations either. Heck, Google is probably got the goods on the NSA.
These companies gave us up like a two dollar hooker gives it up for a crack rock. Now they’re ‘fighting’ back?
Give me a break.
They’re really only bloviating now (methinks they doth protest too much) because the users of their products DO NOT TRUST THEM. I’d be willing to bet their ‘market share’ however they assess it is off quite a bit.
Nothing but market damage control....
Smoke and mirrors. They let the NSA in with open arms until the pesky peasants found out
Don’t use the internet, don’t use a telephone, don’t send any mail and you’re safe..............
Funny but I think liberals are saying about the same thing.
They are panicked because they are losing contracts and business overseas as well. That is the extent of their moral concern.
A lot of customers must now be former customers...
>> Dont use the internet, dont use a telephone, dont send any mail and youre safe..............
I’m so paranoid, I don’t even THINK anymore.
Sounds like nothing more than a PR campaign. We all remember Obama’s visits with the heads of most of these companies early in his first term. They got into bed with him, and now we know it. They’re embarrassed that they got exposed, but I’m sure they aren’t going to change their ways.
It's only a figure of speech, honest.
Shouldn't you be at DummiesUnderground then?
Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping!
To get onto The Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping List you must threaten to report me to the Mods if I don't add you to the list...
I’m responding by telepathy. However recent news reports of new technology state that form will not be secure in the future either.
That didn’t really care until it came out they were complicate
with the NSA and that they themselves had been spied on.
So the people who track my movements across the internet and share my personal information for advertising purposes are now concerned about privacy.
Oh, the irony.
You'll be a perfect little Democrat serf........................
Hate to break it to you, but that makes you a liberal/democrap.
How about AT&T and Verizon?
We heard of this union long before Snowden. These companies didn’t do anything 3 years or so ago and they’ll not do anything in the future. It’s nothing but a feel good piece.
I’ll turn it back on! Sheesh...
...hope this tinfoil hat works as well at they say it does on the interwebz...
Here's the issue: many suspect that the NSA has been directly tapping into the Internet backbone lines owned by AT&T, Level 3, Sprint and Verizon. If these companies I mentioned aren't speaking up to curb the NSA's activities, that original "open letter" is all for naught.
You got that right!!! Thanks for that info. I know I read the NSA has a few switches installed at certain key places. These switches divert (I guess mirror) the flow over an internet backbone. I remember ATT and Verizon being mentioned where these switches were installed.
This mirrored flow gets sent to NSA in Maryland and Utah. Seems that Ft Meade does the analysis while Utah NSA is mostly for storage. Archived for immediate retrieval if necessary
Yes, many of these companies collect user data. But you can simply refuse to be one of their users. It's private enterprise and business, as long as they inform you, have the right to contractually keep your data.
It is a good start because it brings to light that there has been way too much of this type of data collecting going on, both from the government and the businesses.
The businesses now know that this is an important issue and I think they will be forced, by customer complaints or market forces in which other competing companies promise not to collect data, into not collecting such data.
Now as far as the government goes, I absolutely think the whole law is a violation of the US Constitution—the government does not nor should not have the power to collect this type of data on Americans.
Did you know that part of the surveillance laws was that the tech Company COULD NOT tell their customers that the government was forcing them to pass on private user data?
In any case, the financial, legal and moral push-back against personal data collection needs to be waged, and this is a rightward step in that direction. Far more needs to be done, no more sweeping under the rug, etc., etc.
I hope their influence will get this monstrosity chopped up and discarded
This is why those howling that Snowden is a 'traitor' are so wide of the mark IMO. I really don't give a damn what motivated him. The bottom line is that what he's done has highlighted the intrusiveness of our feral government, and has prompted people to finally start pushing back against it. None of these companies give a damn about our privacy, and most have, in the past worked directly to undermine it. However, their customers now know about it and many aren't exactly happy. THe only way to get anything to change at a national level is to have some of these high profile companies to start pushing back, as they are doing (at least publicly). The government doesn't listen to the people, but it does listen to big money.
I remember seeing Zuckerfuk on live TV denying any cooperation with the NSA then a week later we find that Facebook was in total cahoots with the NSA all along.
F Zuck and all these other traitors.
Somehow I tend to believe that the NSA’s actions is in some way costing these conglomerates MONEY or they would not be taking this stance.
Absolutely. Early reports indicate that this fiasco is costing the US tech sector tens of billions of dollars (here's one estimate saying $35 billion over the next three years, and that's far from the most pessimistic figures I've seen.
Colorado Town to Vote on Making it Legal to Hunt Drones
Ten years ago, if you said in 2013 that wed be having a debate on how both privately and government owned unmanned aerial drones would be a part of our lives, many people would probably call you crazy.
However, here we are, in 2013, debating about unmanned aerial vehicles and how theyll be used in daily life.
We have everything from federal government attack drones to law enforcement surveillance drones to recreational, hobby drones to drones designed to monitor and harass hunters.
Well, one small Colorado town is taking control of the debate in an interesting way.
The town of Deer Trail is set to vote on a local ordinance which would make it legal to shoot down unmanned drones that invade private property airspace.