Cook, Zuckerberg, Mayer, other tech CEOs ask U.S. Senate to restrict U.S. spying

A group of prominent technology company CEOs, including the most prominent, Apple CEO Tim Cook, have posted an open letter to the The United State Senate online, via the companies’ joint website reformgovernmentsurveillance.com, and in full page advertisements in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The letter, verbatim:

Dear Members of the Senate:

It’s been a year since the first headlines alleging the extent of government surveillance on the Internet.

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish, and it must change.

Over the last year many of our companies have taken important steps, including further strengthening the security of our services and taking action to increase transparency. But the government needs to do more.

In the next few weeks, the Senate has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and pass a version of the USA Freedom Act that would help restore the confidence of Internet users here and around the world, while keeping citizens safe.

Unfortunately, the version that just passed the House of Representatives could permit bulk collection of Internet “metadata” (e.g. who you email and who emails you), something that the Administration and Congress said they intended to end. Moreover, while the House bill permits some transparency, it is critical to our customers that the bill allow companies to provide even greater detail about the number and type of government requests they receive for customer information.

It is in the best interest of the United States to resolve these issues. Confidence in the Internet, both in the U.S. and internationally, has been badly damaged over the last year. It is time for action. As the Senate takes up this important legislation, we urge you to ensure that U.S. surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent, and subject to independent oversight.

Signed,

Tim Armstrong, AOL
Tim Cook, Apple
Drew Houston, Dropbox
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Larry Page, Google
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn
Satya Nadella, Microsoft
Dick Costolo, Twitter
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!

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

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Related articles:
How the NSA tapped AT&T’s network – May 23, 2014
U.S. House passes bill to curb NSA data collection programs – May 23, 2014
Apple, others to defy U.S. government authorities, notify customers of secret data demands – May 1, 2014
US NSA used Facebook to hack into computers – March 12, 2014
Rand Paul: ‘What you do on your cellphone is none of their damned business!’ – March 8, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
Apple issues update on U.S. NSA and law enforcement orders – January 27, 2014
Obama’s NSA proposals fall far short of real change – January 17, 2014
U.S. NSA devises radio pathway into computers to conduct surveillance, launch cyberattacks – January 15, 2014
The NSA, Apple’s iPhone and a whole lot of bad reporting – January 8, 2014
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Ex-NSA chief calls for Obama to reject commission’s recommendations to rein in NSA surveillance – December 30, 2013
How the U.S. NSA remotely bugs your Apple iPhone – December 30, 2013
Report: U.S. NSA intercepts computers during shipping to install surveillance malware – December 30, 2013
U.S. NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking – December 11, 2013
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Obama administration decides NSA spying is ‘essential,’ but oversight of NSA is not – October 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5s with Touch ID seen as protection against U.S. NSA – September 16, 2013
German government: Windows 8 contains U.S. NSA snooping back doors; too dangerous to use – August 23, 2013
Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web traffic, can snare emails – August 21, 2013
NSA can read email, online chats, track Web browsing without warrant, documents leaked by Edward Snowden show – July 31, 2013
Momentum builds against U.S. government surveillance – July 29, 2013
U.S. House rejects effort to curb NSA surveillance powers, 205-217 – July 24, 2013
Obama administration scrambles to shut down imminent U.S. House vote to defund NSA spying – July 24, 2013
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
Apple, Google, dozens of others push Obama administration to disclose U.S. surveillance requests – July 19, 2013
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

7 Comments

    1. A la Guugle, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

      Funny but Bilderberger Bezos didn’t sign – he’s too busy making sure the NSA has a fully functioning backdoor to Amazon accounts.

  1. Again MDN, a great Reagan quote. Thank you.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if my US government simply followed their oath of office and simply protected and defended the US Constitution? There is no interpretation here. There is no acceptable ‘metadata’ to collect. How could this be worded any more clearly? Hmm?

    The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution:

    ‘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.

    Ignoring the above makes #MyStupidGovernment sure look stupid! I don’t care if it’s all well meaning. It’s unconstitutional.

  2. I’ve run into a couple other business conglomerate websites dedicated to stopping the unconstitutional surveillance of US citizens on US soil via the Internet:

    https://thedaywefightback.org

    The above was inspired by Aaron Swartz, a casualty of illegal Internet surveillance. It is sponsored by all the companies at ‘ReformGovernmentSurveillance’ as well as
    – EFF (my heroes)
    – tumblr
    – Mozilla
    – DuckDuckGo
    – Amnesty International
    – boingboing
    – O’Reilly
    – Demand Progress
    – ACLU
    – reddit
    – CREDO
    – Fight For The Future
    – Greenpeace
    – Web We Want
    – Daily KOS
    – Other98
    – Access
    – RootsAction
    – Human Rights Watch
    – Freedom of the Press Foundation
    – PDA
    – cdt
    – ThoughtWorks
    – Libertarian Party
    – PrivateIntemetaAccess
    – Open Technology Institute
    – Government Accountability Project
    – Restore the Fourth
    – Free Software Foundation
    – Wikia
    – Automattic
    – namecheap
    – PIWIK
    – Upworthy
    – tucows
    – Open Media
    – Campaign for Liberty
    – Thunderclap
    – imgur

    I think that’s the lot. It’s an astounding group of companies and organizations collaborating to stop unconstitutional surveillance.

  3. Disingenuous Bullshit.

    They (Corporate Amerika) want to do the spying and do it for profit. Guess she there best customers are: governments.

    From the Feds on down to the local PoPo, government agencies are the best friend the data miners ever had. Another interesting fact is that law enforcement commonly buys data they are forbidden to collect without a court order. These days they just buy it.

    Any reform must BAN corporate surveillance and the sale of such data for profit.

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