“Dozens of companies, non-profits and trade organizations including Apple Inc, Google Inc and Facebook Inc sent a letter on Thursday pushing the Obama administration and Congress for more disclosures on the government’s national security-related requests for user data,” Reuters reports.

“General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, suggested he was open to the idea but that officials were trying to determine a way to disclose that information without jeopardizing FBI investigations,” Reuters reports. “‘We just want to make sure we do it right, that we don’t impact anything ongoing with the FBI. I think that’s the reasonable approach,’ Alexander told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, when asked about the letter. Together with LinkedIn Corp, Yahoo! Inc, Microsoft Corp, Twitter and many others, the companies asked for more transparency of secret data gathering in the letter addressed to Alexander as well as President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and national security leaders in Congress.”

Reuters reports, “Tech companies have been scrambling to assert their independence after documents leaked last month by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden raised questions about how much data on their clients they handed over to the government to aid its surveillance efforts. The leaks have renewed a public debate over the balance between national security and privacy, and have put tech companies in an awkward position, especially because many have been assailed for their own commercial use of customer data… Alexander said it was important to keep in mind that companies were compelled by U.S. law to hand over data. ‘They don’t have a choice. Court order, they have to do this,’ he said… Co-signers included investors such as Boston Common Asset management and Union Square Ventures, as well as scores of associations including Human Rights Watch, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform and conservative FreedomWorks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Join The Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for a full congressional investigation here.

Related articles:
Secret court agrees to allow Yahoo to reveal its fight against U.S. government PRISM requests – July 16, 2013
How Microsoft handed U.S. NSA, FBI, CIA access to users’ encrypted video, audio, and text communications – July 11, 2013
DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal – June 20, 2013
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013