Tech firms including Apple, Google and Facebook write to Obama on privacy invasion

Microsoft, Google, Facebook join hands, start a public campaign against government surveillance.

By Silky Malhotra Published Date
10 - Dec - 2013
| Last Updated
10 - Dec - 2013
Tech firms including Apple, Google and Facebook write to Obama on...

Top US companies including Apple. Google, Facebook and Twitter have written an open letter to the US government over concerns on online surveillance. The companies have issued an open letter to US President Barack Obama and Congress over reforms on surveillance activities.

The 'Reform Government Surveillance' campaign highlights five major concerns including limiting governments' authority to collect users' information, avoiding conflicts among governments and transparency about government demands.

"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens," said the letter from the eight firms which also included Microsoft Corp, Twitter, LinkedIn Corp, Yahoo Inc and AOL Inc.

"But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. 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."

"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," Google CEO Larry Page was quoted on the website. "This is 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 U.S. government to lead the way."

The security issues were highlighted after documents were leaked by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden that revealed NSA had penetrated some of the tech giants, prompting Microsoft, Google and Yahoo to increase encryption on there servers.

Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer had also recently issued a statement announcing that the company will encrypt all its data by 2014. Mayer stated in a blog post that the company will make Yahoo Mail even more secure by introducing https (SSL - Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. The company added that the encryption will be done across all Yahoo products as well as its mail partners. Mayer added that NSA can not get any user information without the company’s knowledge. Similar statements have also been issued by Google, Microsoft, etc against government surveillance.

Source: Reuters