SAN MATEO, Calif. — Torched by disclosures the National Security Agency tapped into its data and spied on people and businesses, some of tech’s biggest names have banded together to form what is essentially an anti-NSA coalition.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo lead the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, announced late tonight, to rein in the vast tentacles of the NSA and — perhaps — salve the worries of privacy-conscious consumers.
The coalition hopes to limit the federal government’s authority to collect user information, protect citizens’ privacy, and impose more legislative oversight and accountability of organizations like the NSA.
Each of the participating companies — which also include LinkedIn and AOL — have taken technological, legal and PR steps to assure customers that their personal information is safe, in hopes of preserving their brand names and not losing business in the U.S. and abroad.
“The undersigned companies believe 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 coalition website says, “We strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed.”
Underscoring the group’s sentiment, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Larry Page and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote an open letter to Washington, D.C., in which they “urge the U.S. to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law.”