Apple, along with AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo have published an open letter calling for US government surveillance reform. The letter is addressed to President Barack Obama and the US Congress and comes in response to the NSA's PRISM surveillance program that came to light earlier this year. Revelations about that program revealed that the government had backdoors into several of the technology companies' servers. All those technology companies have denied giving the US government access.
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
This letter will be published in several of the national papers including The Washington Post and The New York Times. It has also been published on a website created by the technology companies that authored the letter, ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com. On that website, the technology companies have also published a set of principles they believe governments should adhere to in regards to the collection and processing of citizens' data.