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Us Tech Companies Demand Spying Curbs

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AOL, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and LinkedIn say: 'The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual'

The world's leading technology companies have united to demand sweeping changes to US surveillance laws, urging an international ban on bulk collection of data to help preserve the public's “trust in the internet”.

In their most concerted response yet to disclosures by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL will publish an open letter to Barack Obama and Congress on Monday, throwing their weight behind radical reforms already proposed by Washington politicians.

“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,” urges the letter signed by the eight US-based internet giants. “This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for change.”

Several of the companies claim the revelations have shaken public faith in the internet and blamed spy agencies for the resulting threat to their business interests. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”

The chief executive of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, said: “Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world."

Full article at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/09/nsa-surveillance-tech-companies-demand-sweeping-changes-to-us-laws

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Monetising users' private information, that's OK. Selling users' private information to the NSA, no problem. But for the spooks to come in and take this stuff without even so much as a 'by your leave', clearly that's crossed a line with 'freedom-loving' Silcon Valley types.

Or is it more to do with the Chinese sales they're losing?

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I believe all the biggest US tech companies have know prentty much exatcty what has been going on and moreover has played a large part in their unhampered success / promotion as companies.

What we are seeing now is crocodile tears as clients now do not trust them, rightly so. Who knows what level of industrial espionage has been opened up as a result of what has been going on.

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Monetising users' private information, that's OK. Selling users' private information to the NSA, no problem. But for the spooks to come in and take this stuff without even so much as a 'by your leave', clearly that's crossed a line with 'freedom-loving' Silcon Valley types.

Or is it more to do with the Chinese sales they're losing?

The latter - sales are way down in China.

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If states don't back off, more and more information will get encrypted and will be pushed further and further underground. Moreover, real criminals are likely doing this already, which makes much of the snooping rather pointless, unless its aim is to further alienate citizens from 'their' states.

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I believe all the biggest US tech companies have know prentty much exatcty what has been going on and moreover has played a large part in their unhampered success / promotion as companies.

What we are seeing now is crocodile tears as clients now do not trust them, rightly so. Who knows what level of industrial espionage has been opened up as a result of what has been going on.

There will certainly be an element of 'crocodile tears'.

At the same time, internet giants have been sharing information with the secret services for years, but have been banned from ever discussing it, on pain of, well, pain. Now - thanks to Snowden and others - that the information is in the public domain, they're free to talk about it.

Whether they were willing participants in the information collection, or they hated doing it but had their hands tied, will now never be known for sure.

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