Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google call for surveillance reforms

Leading technology companies have united to propose principles for reforming government surveillance laws and practices

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 09 December 2013
Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google call for surveillance reforms

Microsoft is among a group of leading technology companies that have united to propose principles for reforming government surveillance laws and practices to the United States government.

Microsoft joined the likes of Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter to compose an open letter to the president of the United States Congress to take the lead on the reform.

The open letter reads:

‘Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

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. 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.

‘For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorised surveillance on our networks, and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

‘We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.’

Microsoft has supported the development of reformgovernmentsurveillance.com, a website that outlines the thinking behind the proposed reformation.

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.

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