Tech SuperFriends vs. Villainous Spies!

Techie Tuesday: It speaks volumes when 8 arch-rival tech giants ban together to limit government surveillance” notes Jesselyn Radack at the Government Accountability Project.

In an open letter to President Obama and members of Congress, AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, write:

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

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it,” Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, is quoted as saying.

Read more about this effort at Common Dreams or visit the open letter website to learn just what reforms are called for, and by inference, what the current situation really looks like: no limits, no oversight, no transparency and more!