• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 8s

Tech giants call for controls on government snooping

By Danica Kirka, Raphael Satter/Associated Press 7:35 AM December 9, 2013

The letter was signed by AOL Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., LinkedIn Corp., Microsoft Corp., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc.

LONDON — Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday to President Barack Obama arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people.

The companies, which include Google, Facebook and Twitter, said that while they sympathize with national security concerns, recent revelations make it clear that laws should be carefully tailored to balance them against individual rights.

“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,” the letter said. “This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.”

The letter follows this summer’s revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the secret programs that critics argue violate privacy rights. Intelligence officials argue that the NSA’s tactics have helped to disrupt terror attacks and that they’ve taken care not to routinely look at the content of conversations or messages by American citizens.

But the technology companies’ campaign — aimed at governments across the globe — argues that officials should codify “sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data” and to ensure that law enforcement and intelligence efforts should be transparent and accountable. In comments attached to the campaign’s website, CEOs and senior leaders of the companies also weighed in, making it clear they were personally behind reform.

“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. “The U.S. government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”

Marissa Meyer, the chief executive at Yahoo, said the disclosures had “shaken the trust of our users.”

The letter was signed by AOL Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., LinkedIn Corp., Microsoft Corp., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc.

Opponents of the U.S. government’s global espionage program appeared to give the campaign a cautious welcome, although some of them said Silicon Valley’s stance probably had more to do with profit than principle.

“It sure would have been nice if the tech companies had been loudly supporting intelligence reform before Snowden’s disclosures,” said Chris Soghoian, a senior analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union.

WikiLeaks, which has helped Snowden win temporary asylum in Russia, said in a tweet that the corporations were only speaking out against mass surveillance “after seeing profit problems over their complicity in it.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Bean’s Café prepares to feed 1,200 on Thanksgiving

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 25, 22:48

    Trays of turkey are stuffed tucked into every nook and cranny of Bean’s Café’s freezer. “That’s all turkey right there, there’s also turkey here,” Aaron Dollison pointed to the piles of foil platters. After a week of baking the holiday birds, he’s still in good spirits. “We did 84 and we’ll say 20 pounds a […]

  • News

    Collision on Glenn Highway kills driver, hospitalizes passenger

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 21:24

    A collision that briefly closed down half of the Glenn Highway has claimed the life of the driver involved. Around 7:30 p.m., a truck traveling northbound on the Glenn Highway reportedly lost control and left the roadway, rolling over, according to a statement from Anchorage police. The crash occurred just past the Mirror Lake area. […]

  • Politics

    Rasmuson Foundation ups fiscal plan campaign to talk new taxes, capping PFD

    by Liz Raines on Nov 25, 21:04

    What started as a quiet campaign that launched last summer is now becoming a full blown effort by the Rasmuson Foundation to spark conversation about capping the permanent fund dividend, cutting the general fund and paying taxes to save the state from a $3.5 billion budget deficit. The foundation said it will be launching its […]

  • News

    Alaska inmates create princess wigs for girls battling cancer

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 25, 20:38

    Palmer mother of three Holly Christensen doesn’t typically spend her days at Alaska women’s prisons. But she says the Magic Yarn Project isn’t just for little girls, it extends to everyone involved. “We’re just bombarded with emails from all over the world. These little girls that need wigs and we don’t have enough,” Christensen said. The […]

  • News

    Heavy snow closes several highways in Fairbanks area

    by Associated Press on Nov 25, 17:01

    Heavy snow is creating difficult driving conditions in the Fairbanks area, with winter conditions closing several highways Wednesday. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Richardson Highway was closed for about a 75-mile stretch, from Delta Junction south to Paxson, for about seven hours. Department of Transportation officials cited whiteout conditions, heavy and drifting snow and […]

  • Lifestyle

    Thanksgiving in space: What astronauts eat on Turkey Day

    by Sarah Lewin / Space.com on Nov 25, 16:20

        Astronauts gave thanks and previewed their “traditional” space meal in a video greeting from the International Space Station just in time for Thanksgiving. NASA astronauts Scott Kelly, who is nearing the end of his one-year mission, and Kjell Lindgren took a moment to celebrate the season in a video preview of their Thanksgiving […]

  • News

    Bethel school interior photos highlight damage from fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 15:56

    School officials ventured inside Bethel’s burned Kilbuck building Tuesday, and captured several images highlighting the damage wrought by a recent fire. A group of Lower Kuskokwim School District officials discovered some Yupik education materials could be saved, said Superintendent Daniel Walker. While damaged by smoke, the school’s library was largely intact, as were books and […]

  • News

    100 Stone: Rescuing the symbols of mental health issues

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 15:38

    A project highlighting mental illness was nearly destroyed on an Alaska beach Tuesday evening following high winds and waves. Eighty-five statues made of concrete, burlap, plaster and straw were installed at Point Woronzof on Saturday. Known as 100 Stone, the project portrayed the struggle many face while living with mental health issues. Each statue was […]