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Tech Giants Unite to Curb Government Surveillance

Rivals Google and Microsoft are leading the tech industry's effort to curtail government surveillance.(LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Laura Ryan
December 9, 2013

Major tech companies are putting aside their differences to join forces to call for limits on the U.S. government's surveillance program, reports the The New York Times.

Eight companies—led by Google and Microsoft—escalated their opposition to the government surveillance program with a formal, 5-point plan to restrict the NSA's spying practices Monday in full-page advertisements in several U.S. newspapers and a website, ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com.

"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens," their joint statement said. "But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide."

 

The tech companies' united front is the latest—and most coordinated—effort in their push to curb the data-surveillance program, and it comes after many companies have vocally opposed the NSA program and stepped up data encryption to protect users' privacy.

AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo are all formidable lobbying forces in Washington, and it is in their economic and business interest to push for limits on the government surveillance program. Their complicity in the spying program—revealed through documents leaked by Edward Snowden—have damaged users' trust in these companies' ability to protect their data, the currency exchanged between Internet companies and users.

"People won't use technology they don't trust," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a statement. "Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it."

The Obama administration will present a review of NSA procedures as soon as this week.

 

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