World’s Leading Companies Up for an Extensive Change in US Surveillance Law

The snooping leak by Edward Snowden has united world’s leading companies in their demand for an extensive change to the surveillance laws in US. They are urging the lawmakers to take a look on surveillance laws and an international ban on bulk data collection to help protect the trust of public in the internet and technology.

Image Credit: bit.ly/1gRk7rN

                                       Image Credit: bit.ly/1gRk7rN

In their sharp and stern reaction to the revelation made by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, leading companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, AOL, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter threw their weight behind radical reforms, which have already been proposed by Washington policymakers, in an open letter to Barack Obama.

The letter signed by the eight internet giants, based in USA, states, “The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour 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 change.” (Source: goo.gl/4eNZbR)

Most of the companies allege that disclosure has shaken the faith of common public in the internet and they are of the view that spy agencies are answerable for the ensuing threat to their business interests.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, says, “People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”

Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo, says, “Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world.” (Source: goo.gl/1zWY6X)

Silicon Valley was at first doubtful over the allegations on NSA made by Snowden but since more documentary evidence have surfaced, fears of commercial damages have stung its eight leading players. The documentary evidence shown by leading dailies and magazines provide details of western surveillance capabilities.

The letter further notes, “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.” (Source: goo.gl/SL4gnF)

The group of companies is usually fiercely competitive but each one of them has joined hands to come up with a separate list of five “reform principles”. It is crucial for the key reformers in Congress to agree the NSA to no longer snoop on the data from individuals it does not have cause to suspect on terrorism.

The new list of principles suggests, “Governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of internet communications, need for the data in limited circumstances, users’ reasonable privacy interests, and the impact on trust in the internet.”

These companies are right in their demand of an international ban on snooping because it violates individuals’ privacy in the name of security concerns.

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