Eight of the biggest companies in technology have united to speak out against the NSA's leaked surveillance programs and demand sweeping reforms. AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have all signed a letter to President Obama and Congress that The Hill reports will run in national print ads on Monday.
"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens," begins the letter. "But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide." The letter also appears on a new website, Reform Government Surveillance, which further outlines the group's positions.
"This summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide."
Most of these companies signed an open letter back in October calling for changes in the way the NSA operates, and all of them have backed bills allowing them to reveal more about government data requests, but the Reform Government Surveillance campaign is more populist and explicit about exactly what the companies expect from authorities in the future.
The coalition calls for five principles behind surveillance reform: limiting governments' authority to collect users' information, oversight and accountability, transparency about government demands, respecting the free flow of information, and avoiding conflicts among governments.
Marissa Mayer: US Government should "act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world"
"The security of users' data is critical, which is why we've invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information," says Google CEO Larry Page. "This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world."
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says that "it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world," a sentiment echoed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who believes that the government "should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right."