All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants team up to fight NSA spying tactics

09 Dec 2013
nsa-headquarters-fort-meade-maryland

Eight of the world's largest technology companies have signed a joint letter to the US president and congress, demanding reform on the methods used by government agencies to gather user data.

The open letter, published on the Reform Government Surveillance website, has been signed by Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Yahoo, AOL and Twitter. The letter states that "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."

Reflecting previous rhetoric from all the companies, including joint letters and petitions, the demands made of the US government also match up with the USA Freedom Act, a bill currently being put to the House of Representatives.

The letter also asks for governments to put in place "sensible limitations" on how they make requests for user information. "Governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of internet communications," it adds.

It calls for greater transparency over how data requests are recorded, with the firms once again asking to be able to publish the number and extent of user data requests they receive. Currently, requests made under the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) cannot be published by law.

The website also contains statements from various technology executives. Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith said: "People won't use technology they don't trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it."

Google chief executive Larry Page, meanwhile, said his firm had made significant investment in securing its users' data, which was now being "undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world. It's time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way."

Revelations stemming from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden caused a crisis of confidence in the tech industry, when it was revealed that the the government had tapped supposedly secure data via firms including Google and Yahoo.

Google has since begun encrypting all of the data stored in its cloud services, while Twitter has begun to use "forward secrecy" measures in order to better protect user data.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Michael Passingham
About

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

View Michael's Google+ profile

More on Privacy
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

Microsoft Azure outage

Is cloud computing reliable enough for business yet?
16%
6%
12%
66%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 5.1in 1080p HD Super AMOLED screen

Galaxy S5 waterproof claims tested out

We test whether Samsung's latest flagship really can repel water

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv3may

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging

ibmv3may

Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

IT Helpdesk / Support Analyst - MS Windows, Office

IT Helpdesk / Support Analyst - MS Windows, Office...

Support Engineer - Windows, MS Office

Support Engineer - Windows, MS Office Support Engineer...

Service Desk Analyst / Helpdesk Analyst - Legal, MS Office 2010, Windows 7

Service Desk Analyst / Helpdesk Analyst - Legal, MS Office...

Technical Support Analyst / Service Desk Analyst (Legal, MS Office, ITIL) - 24/7

Technical Support Analyst / Service Desk Analyst (Legal...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.