Stay Connected


image
Connie Zhou Google
FILE - In this undated file photo made available by Google, hundreds of fans funnel hot air from the computer servers into a cooling unit to be recirculated at a Google data center in Mayes County, Okla. The green lights are the server status LEDs reflecting from the front of the servers. Eight major technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 to President Barack Obama arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)

Tech companies lash out at gov’t snooping


WASHINGTON (AP) — Silicon Valley is escalating pressure on President Barack Obama to curb the U.S. government surveillance programs that vacuum personal information off the Internet and threaten the technology industry’s financial livelihood.

A coalition that includes Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft lashed out in an open letter printed Monday in major newspapers and a new website, http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com.

The crusade united eight companies that often compete fiercely against each other, but now find themselves banding together to limit the potential damage from revelations about the National Security Agency’s snooping on Web surfers.

Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and AOL Inc. joined Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the push for tighter controls over electronic espionage. The group is immersed in the lives of just about everyone who uses the Internet or a computing device.

As the companies’ services and products have become more deeply ingrained in society, they have become integral cogs in the economy. Their prosperity also provides them with the cash to pay for lobbyists and fund campaign contributions that sway public policy.

Monday’s public relations offensive is a by-product of documents leaked over the past six months by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The records reveal that the NSA has been obtaining emails and other personal data from major tech companies under secret court orders for the past five years and scooping up other data through unauthorized hacking into data centers.

Silicon Valley has been fighting back in the courts and in Congress as they seek reforms that would allow them to disclose more information about secret court orders.

Several of the companies are also introducing more encryption technology to shield their users’ data from government spies and other prying eyes.

Monday’s letter and the new anti-snooping website represent the technology industry’s latest salvo in an attempt to counter any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users’ email and other sensitive information.

Although the campaign is ostensibly directed at governments around the world, the United States is clearly the main target.

“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,” the letter said.

“This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.”



Back to National
Top Stories of the Week

Police: 2 adults, 5 juveniles arrested after breaking into Lyman …
WALLINGFORD – Two adults and five juveniles accused of breaking into Lyman Hall High School are scheduled to appear in court Friday. Montgomery Lamar Barshawn, … more ...

Police: Drunk Wallingford man wielded gun inside Jake’s Martini Bar …
WALLINGFORD – Police say a local man caused a disturbance and brandished a handgun inside a Center Street bar after he was refused service. David … more ...

Meriden man gets 25 years for assault that left man …
HARTFORD — A Meriden man involved in an assault that left one man permanently disabled and another seriously injured has been sentenced to serve 25 … more ...

5 Things you need to know about Rosabianca Vineyards of …
NORTHFORD — Wine tasting can be a lot of fun, and every vineyard does it differently. Rosabianca Vineyards in Northford opened in January after Charlie … more ...

Wallingford police remove nearly 30 grams of marijuana from Meriden …
WALLINGFORD — A Meriden man was arrested on drunken driving and drug possession charges after police found almost 30 grams of marijuana in his pants. … more ...

Comments