Eight of the biggest players in the tech and Web business have banded together to create a site asking the U.S. and other governments to modify how they performs surveillance and collects data. Interestingly enough, the eight companies include several pairs of rivals: AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.
The site, ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com, stats at the top, "The undersigned companies believe that it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information."
The site features a list of five principles that the companies ask to be adopted for global government surveillance reform:
- Limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information
- Oversight and accountability
- Transparency about government demands,
- Respecting the free flow of information
- Avoiding conflicts among governments.
After a few quotes from CEOs and execs of said companies about privacy and surveillance, there is an open letter to Washington signed by the eight tech companies. It reads in part:
"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. 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."