The Wall Street Journal reports Apple has joined a group of technology companies, which includes Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo, in publishing an open letter to President Obama and members of congress in which they urge them to reform government surveillance tactics.
The letter, which can be found on a website endorsed by the tech companies, will also appear in full-page ads in the Monday editions of several publications such as The New York Times and the Washington Post.
The “Open Letter” reads as follows:
Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,
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.
For our part, we are focused on keeping user’s data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.
We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com
AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo
The tech firms also published a set of principles they believe the government should follow regarding oversight and accountability, transparency, respect for the free flow of information, the limitations of government when collecting users’ information, and avoiding conflict among governments.
The reveal of the U.S. government’s PRISM surveillance program back in June has raised concerns about the governments use of user data collecting. The U.S. National Security Agency was revealed to have direct access to user data on networks owned and used by such tech firms as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and others.