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Tech Companies Calling for NSA to Allow Increased Transparency Regarding Surveillance

Tech Companies Calling for NSA to Allow Increased Transparency Regarding Surveillance

Apple, Google, Facebook, and other tech heavyweights took a hit to their reputations earlier this year in the National Security Agency’s PRISM scandal, and now they are joining forces to demand more transparency regarding NSA requests and surveillance.

Big Brother is Watching...
Big Brother is Watching…


In a letter to be published Thursday, the alliance — whose members include 63 companies, investors, non-profits and trade organizations — will call upon President Obama and congressional leaders to allow Internet, telephone, and Web-based service providers to report national security-related requests for information with greater specificity.

They are asking to be allowed to regularly report:

  • The number of government requests for information about their users.
  • The number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested.
  • The number of requests that sought communications content, basic subscriber information, and/or other information.

The group is also asking that the government begin issuing a transparency report of its own to provide the total number of information requests they make, and the number of individuals affected by the requests.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,” a copy of the letter obtained by AllThingsD reads. “We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities. This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use.”

Members of the group include:

AOL, Apple, Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook, Google, Heyzap, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Mozilla, Reddit, salesforce.com, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, YouNow, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, New Atlantic Ventures, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center for Democracy & Technology, Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, Public Knowledge, The Computer & Communications Industry Association, Reporters Without Borders, and The Wikimedia Foundation.