After asking for reform back in October, many of the big names in tech are officially coming together to, hopefully, put an end to the National Security Agency’s poking around. You see, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple have formed a coalition. They have moved past just strong letter writing and are calling for specific action. Today they begin their campaign with full page print ads in national publications and a website dedicated to bringing about change.
On their website, and in their ads, the group lists five principles they would like to see in place in order to make true reform. Their requests are not outlandish. Essentially, the group is asking the government entities be imposed with ‘sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data.” They also want transparency, increased oversight, and accountability from the government. Right now, they are focusing on the US government but the aim is worldwide.
“People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, said in a statement. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”
The group is calling for a legal framework full of checks and balances that will help keep the government in check. They are also encouraging foreign governments to do the same.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo published on the group’s website, “Unchecked, undisclosed government surveillance inhibits the free flow of information. The principles we advance today would reform the current system to appropriately balance the needs of security and privacy while safeguarding the essential human right of free expression.”
While the group pledges to step up security and privacy on their end they believe that the government must update their laws. They also believe that “the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual.”