AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and Yahoo have created an alliance requesting the US government reform surveillance practices for the sake of usersâ€™ privacy after revelations of wide-scale gathering of data on private citizens.
The alliance, known as Reform Government Surveillance, also seeks accountability for intelligence agencies, transparency in government demands for user information and a consistent and â€œtransparentâ€ legal framework to globally protect all usersâ€™ privacy and safety.
â€œThe undersigned companies believe that it is time for the worldâ€™s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their informationâ€, the groupâ€™s website says. â€œIn addition, governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of Internet communications.â€
In an open letter to the US President, the companies say they created this initiative as a result of the numerous disclosures on NSAâ€™s secret spying activity, leaked by former employee Edward Snowden.
â€œReports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information,” says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”
The companies plan to rehabilitate their image in the consumers’ eyes, because â€œpeople wonâ€™t use technology they donâ€™t trust,â€ says Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.