• 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

  • Lifestyle

    How to reverse the health risks of sitting all day

    by CBS News on Jul 29, 17:35

    Sitting too much can take a serious toll on your health, even raise your risk of early death. But if you’re stuck in your chair at a desk job all day, don’t despair — a new study suggests there is something you can do to reverse the damage. It comes down to fitting in an hour of […]

  • News

    Driver killed in commercial truck rollover near Houston

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:38

    The driver of a commercial truck was killed when it rolled over near Houston Friday morning, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch. Thirty-six-year-old Alexander Dmitryev, of Trapper Creek, was the only one in the truck when the incident happened on the Parks Highway near Cheri Lake Drive, according to the dispatch. Troopers said he was wearing […]

  • Lifestyle

    Video: Man uses drone to pull out granddaughter’s loose tooth

    by Jason Sear on Jul 29, 16:16

    Combine the ingenuity of a grandfather and the creativity of 6-year-old, and almost anything is possible. When Avery Radke heard her grandfather, Terry Siegrist, would be visiting Anchorage, a light bulb went went on. Avery asked her ‘papa’ to bring his drone to Alaska. She had a loose tooth and thought attaching it to a […]

  • News

    Troopers: Motorcyclist last seen in Glennallen reported missing

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:04

    A Valdez man, who was last seen on Tuesday in Glennallen, has been reported missing by his family, according to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch. Christian Cumbie, 39, was driving his purple and yellow motorcycle, with Florida registration, when he left the Hub in Glennallen and headed south on the Richardson Highway, troopers said. An Alaska State Trooper […]

  • News

    Eroding Alaska village to vote on whether to move or stay

    by Rachel D'Oro / AP on Jul 29, 14:44

    A tiny island village on Alaska’s storm-battered western coast is entering a new chapter in its decades-long pursuit to move the entire community from its badly eroding shores to safer ground. The Inupiat Eskimo community of Shishmaref will hold a special election next month asking residents if they should develop a new community at a […]

  • News

    Juneau whale-watchers rescue swimming deer in distress

    by Associated Press on Jul 29, 13:38

    Alaska tourists on a whale-watching cruise got a close-up view of a different aquatic species – a distressed, swimming deer. Naturalist Audrey Benson of Gastineau Guiding Co. tells Juneau radio station KTOO that the company’s 18-passenger boat Wednesday was west of Shelter Island when it heard by radio that two Sitka black-tailed deer were swimming in […]

  • News

    Officials to lift flight restrictions near McHugh Fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 12:28

    Last updated at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29 With the return of wind, the McHugh Fire’s “hot pockets of isolated fuels” may continue to burn and cause smoke to be visible from the Seward Highway, according to the Alaska Wildland Fire Information website. However, flight restrictions in the fire area will be lifted Friday […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: The Jephries

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 29, 11:26

    A mix of rock and roll, psychedelic and progressive rock are the sounds the best describe the all-Alaska band, The Jephries. Sidney, Jason and Logan Jephrie make up the three-piece band and are preparing to release their second album. They have toured their home state of Alaska since 2013. Over the last few years, they’ve […]