Eight technology firms urge surveillance reforms

Leading technology companies have joined together to urge the United States and other governments around the world to accept wide-reaching reform of their online surveillance practice.

Governments must 'restore trust in internet'

Western governments need to restore public trust in the internet following revelations of online surveillance made by former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden, according to Microsoft.

The technology company's vice president Brad Smith said:

We obviously all want to live in a secure world but we all want to live in a world as well where security is balanced with personal freedom and privacy.

We recognise that information technology is a powerful tool for individuals but people won't use technology they don't trust. In our view governments have put that trust at risk. Governments need to help restore it.

– Brad Smith

Google: Government snooping 'undermines' web safety

Google says that intelligence gathering techniques used by the US and other governments are putting web users' online security at risk.

Google is one of of eight companies who have written to the US about surveillance. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/

The online giant's senior vice president Ken Walker said: "We have invested so much in encryption and the fight for transparency around government requests for information.

"That's undermined when you have wholesale collection of data done in secret without independent oversight by many governments around the world," Walker told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

More: US tech giants 'call for regulation of online snooping'

Advertisement

US tech giants 'call for regulation of online snooping'

Eight of the world's largest technology firms are to publish an open letter to US President Barack Obama today calling for greater regulation of online data collection by intelligence agencies, the Guardian reports.

The US National Security Agency has been accused on mass indiscriminate data collection
The US National Security Agency has been accused on mass indiscriminate data collection

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL have all thrown their weight behind a package of reforms being debated in Congress.

They warn that the ongoing disclosures by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden risk undermining public "trust in the internet," the Guardian reports.

"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,” the letter reportedly says.