In October, the tech industry's biggest companies petitioned congress to reform the US Government's surveillance policies. Now, the firms are taking their pleas global. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo and AOL (Engadget's parent company) have banded together to ask the world's governments to reassess its intelligence practices. This time, however, the firms are presenting more than a strongly worded letter - they've laid out five core reform principals, detailed both on an official website and in full-page ads in national publications.
The breakdown is fairly straightforward; the group asks that government's authority be imposed with "sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data," and giving more consideration to the link between privacy and trust required between technology providers and their users. The group is also demanding increased oversight, accountability and transparency, outlining a system that allows companies to publish the nature and frequency of user information requests and attached to a "clear legal framework" with "strong checks and balances." Governments outside of the US are encouraged to work together too, to create a "robust, principled and transparent framework" to guide requests for data across jurisdictions. The group of tech giants also wants these changes to respect the flow of information, and ensure that service providers are able to build infrastructure on a global scale, without needing to store data inside the country for the sake of national government inquiries. The group followed up with an open letter to Washington, outlining the above and asking that the US Government lead the changes necessary for the plans to come into fruition.