• US Tech Giants Send an Open Letter to the Government Asking for a Spying Reform

    Several tech giants including Apple recently sent an open letter to Congress, President Obama and other government agencies today. The letter argues for a change in the nation’s surveillance laws that currently allow for bulk consumer data collection. The global tech companies seem to have joined forces with civil liberties organizations to put an end to the data collection in the wake of US cyber surveillance revelations aired by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

    The open letter specifically calls for lawmakers to revisit the Patriot Act and curtail mass surveillance operations. Representing the tech companies is the group, Reform Government Surveillance. The group is representing several Silicon Valley tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others. Other notable signatories in the letter include the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch.

    The groups and private companies are looking to reform Sections 214 and 215 of the Patriot Act. More specifically, in Section 215, which affords agencies like the NSA legal protection to perform mass data gathering exercises without a warrant is scheduled to expire on June 1. Lawmakers will be given the chance to revisit the provision to make changes at this time.

    To address the surveillance issues, the letter names two main goals. First is a “clear, strong and effective end to bulk collection practices.” Barring complete, reform, the group claims any deemed lawful data collection should incorporate safeguards that will help protect user privacy. Second is a reworked doctrine which should contain “transparency and accountability mechanisms” for both the government and private sector firms. The group is requesting a “declassification regime for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.”

    The recent letter appears to be a more strongly worded iteration of a similar correspondence that was sent to Congress in late 2013.

    One thing to keep in mind is that although some companies have an altruistic concern for the public good, others are participating purely because these privacy concerns could hurt their bottom line. For example, some companies are arguing that consumers both domestically and abroad may stop using their products for fear of government snooping, which would end up in billions of lost dollars.

    We’ll have to wait and see what move the government agencies end up making next.

    Source: NewAmerica (PDF), Reform Government Surveillance
    This article was originally published in forum thread: US Tech Giants Send an Open Letter to the Government Asking for a Spying Reform started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. SpiderManAPV's Avatar
      SpiderManAPV -
      All those companies joining together for a cause? What is this?!?
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