Friday, November 01, 2013

Tech giants ensnared by NSA spying petition Congress for surveillance reform


Tech giants caught up in the NSA's PRISM scandal petition Congress for surveillance reform

In the months since information about the NSA's bulk surveillance efforts began to leak, many of the tech companies named in documents have been unable to even discuss their involvement. Those blinds have been pried back a little with the release of a few transparency reports, but today Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple and AOL (the corporate parent of Engadget) sent a letter to Congress encouraging it to do more. Mashable posted a copy of the letter (embedded after the break), which is addressed to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and specifically references the recently-introduced USA Freedom Act as an "important contribution" to the discussion.

That particular bill seeks to end the NSA's "dragnet" security programs while "requiring greater oversight, transparency, and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities." According to the companies, greater transparency would clear up "erroneous reports that we permit intelligence agencies "direct access" to our companies' servers or that we are participants in a bulk Internet records collection program." As the Washington Post points out, the companies listed may take issue with other bills circulating like the FISA Improvement Act because they don't address surveillance of non-US citizens, creating suspicion and problems for said companies setting up services for users internationally.

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Source: Washington Post, Mashable, The Guardian, Politico