This is the age of the NSA’s PRISM scandal, government leaders spying on other government leaders and do-before-ask privacy policies. If no one takes a stand to put in place more transparent privacy laws and regulate them, too, every part of our lives might soon be available for governments and corporations to see (if it’s not so already).
To put an end to uncurbed government spying, some of the world’s largest and most popular tech companies have banded together to form the Reform Government Surveillance group. Spearheaded by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Twitter, the group has banded together to present five principles governments around the world should abide by when it comes to protecting the privacy of their citizens. The five principles include:
Limiting governments’ authority to collect user information
Oversight and accountability
Respecting the free flow of information
Avoiding conflicts among governments (no more spying on Angela Merkel, White House)
Following quotes from each tech company’s CEO, the group posts an open letter to Washington requesting that measures be taken to protect people’s personal information. The group writes:
We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. 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. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.”