A group of the world’s most powerful Internet companies have come together to form the Reform Government Surveillance group, an organization pushing for wide-scale changes to US government surveillance in light of NSA revelations revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo have formed the alliance to push their shared belief that “it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”
The organization is pledging its support to sweeping new reform proposed by Washington politicians, and its website includes five central principles for change:
- Limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information
- Oversight and accountability
- Transparency about government demands
- Respecting the freer flow of information
- Avoiding conflict about governments
An open letter to governments urges 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.”
The website includes quotes from each company’s CEO, but a blog post from Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith further explains that the NSA revelations have put the people’s trust in governments “at risk,” and the group is working to institute a range of principles to promote greater transparency and more ethical policies.