“Eight U.S. technology giants are making a joint appeal to reform government surveillance activities, following a stream of disclosures about actions by the National Security Agency,” Danny Yadron reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn and AOL – bitter rivals in some cases – are issuing an open letter to President Obama and members of Congress along with a set of reform principles to better safeguard the information of Internet users,” Padilla reports. “A shorter version of the open letter is appearing in full-page ads in the Monday editions of several print publications, including The New York Times and several D.C.-focused newspapers, including the Washington Post, Politico, Roll Call and The Hill. ‘This summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide,’ the ad reads in part. ‘The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual­­–rights that are enshrined in our Constitution.’”

An open letter to Washington

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 favor 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 a change.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized 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. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com

Sincerely,

AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

“The companies didn’t say how much they’re spending on the effort or how it came about. But they are launching a website, reformgovernmentsurveillance.com, and distributing quotes from the executives of the companies involved – including Google CEO Larry Page, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel,” Padilla reports. “‘People won’t use technology they don’t trust,’ Smith said. ‘Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.’”

Read more in the full article here.

Also read more via The Guardian here.

MacDailyNews Take: Learn more by visiting reformgovernmentsurveillance.com.

United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers "Fred Mertz" and "David G." for the heads up.]

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