Snowden, the NSA, spying, data gathering, and privacy have been a constant set of buzzwords in the tech world over recent months. As more and more revelations about the extent of data gathering come to light; consumer confidence in companies providing online services is taking a drastic hit.
Thankfully, that isn’t good enough for at least 8 tech giants. Normally bitter enemies such as Apple and Google have formed a formal alliance calling for nothing short of a complete overhaul of global government surveillance reform. For months now these companies have been pushing individually to get permission from the US government to open up to the public the types, and amount, of requests made by the government for data collection. Each of these companies are already taking their own steps in beefing up encryption and security in areas that have been exposed to be exploited by the government.
Now they are taking these efforts to the next level by becoming a single group. AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have published an open letter to President Obama that you can read here http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com/. It states they recognize the government has a duty to protect citizens, but highlights that
You, the end user, can take a bit of comfort in the fact that these major companies realize they have a duty to protect your data. They recognize a major threat to that duty and have put aside differences to combat it even if that threat comes from a “trusted” source such as our own government.
Sure, you can argue that they are only responding in order to protect their bottom line and keep their users using their services. These requests have been coming in for years and only after its exposed are they responding. If they were truly concerned about the end user, then actions would have been taken already. That is a valid argument and all I can say to that is regardless of motive, a positive action is happening to correct this wrong and we should be happy something is being done instead of lingering on the “what ifs”
You can get involved yourself by reaching out to your representatives and demand they listen to this alliance or to your concerns about what is happening to your data online. Visit http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to find your representatives contact information.