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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:51 AM   #1
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Apple and Other Tech Companies Call for Government Surveillance Reform




Apple, along with seven other U.S. technology companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, have published an open letter urging President Barack Obama and members of Congress to reform government surveillance tactics, reports The Wall Street Journal. The letter, which can be found on a website endorsed by the tech companies, will also appear in full-page ads in the Monday editions of several publications such as The New York Times and the Washington Post.
Quote:
Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

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.

For our part, we are focused on keeping user's data secure -- deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com

Sincerely,

AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo
The various tech companies have also published a set of principles that they believe governments should follow, including the limitation of government authority to collect users' information, oversight and accountability, transparency about demands, respect for the free flow of information, and the avoidance of conflicts among governments.

Concerns about government use of user data collecting began ramping up in June, when a U.S. government program named PRISM was revealed to be giving the U.S. National Security Agency direct access to user data on corporate servers across a wide spectrum of Internet companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.

In response, Apple published a statement of "Commitment to Customer Privacy" denying its participation in the NSA's program and teamed up with a number of tech companies to request greater NSA surveillance transparency, allowing it to provide customers with regular reports on security related requests. Last month, Apple also published a report outlining statistics on government and law enforcement requests it received from January to the end of June.

Apple and other companies also met with President Obama in August to discuss privacy issues and government surveillance. Recently, Apple and 30 other technology corporations signed a letter urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013 and the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, which would result in increased surveillance disclosures and would give technology companies the right to publish detailed statistics on demands for user data.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the comment thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All MacRumors forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple and Other Tech Companies Call for Government Surveillance Reform
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:53 AM   #2
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About time.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:53 AM   #3
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:54 AM   #4
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I have always hugely respected Apple's approach to privacy, and I'm thrilled to see them leading this charge. This battle needs to be won.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:54 AM   #5
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I honestly think this letter "signed" by all these companies with just their logos looks really ridiculous.

At least they're trying to do something though.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by impulse462 View Post
I honestly think this letter "signed" by all these companies with just their logos looks really ridiculous.

At least they're trying to do something though.
John Hancock. 'Nuff said.

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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:58 AM   #7
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the world is changing

I think this is going in a good direction
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 01:58 AM   #8
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Why did they do this before it became public knowledge, since they were complying with government requests.

No free PR in that I suppose.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:08 AM   #9
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I'm pretty sure Apple is leading this effort and the others are just tagging along for the ride.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dumastudetto View Post
I'm pretty sure Apple is leading this effort and the others are just tagging along for the ride.
Why is he Apple logo missing from the website http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com ?

(It is on the letter below but not at the end of the intro)
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:23 AM   #11
ellsworth
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Great. These companies just made it onto the government's $hiit list. Glad to see someone taking a stand but I'm also a believer in that if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:33 AM   #12
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but I'm also a believer in that if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.
True. But just because I know I'm keeping a neat and clean home doesn't mean I'll have an Open House for Public Health officials to come in as they please.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:42 AM   #13
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I agree. I think this is the right direction and something we can all get behind, as long as it's not lip service.

I mean only six months ago the government agencies were denying all this... And then recently the FBI revealed they can spy on you through your iSight without the indicator light and such...

----------

As for the 'nothing to hide crowd' I'm sure a few in Europe in the 40's had nothing to hide as well. Thats a lot of power, and given into the wrong hands plays big trouble. Regardless on what aisle you think your on.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:43 AM   #14
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How will I know that our Government had stop spying us?

They just can say "ok we will stop spying" but still spying.

PRISM program is a secret.. it just happened it got leaked.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:43 AM   #15
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The government right now.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 02:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dumastudetto View Post
I'm pretty sure Apple is leading this effort and the others are just tagging along for the ride.
Seriously? Based on what? Or is that just what you want to believe?

As others have said, if Apple (or others) are so vehemently opposed to this, why didn't the make a stand against it before it became public knowledge?
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ellsworth View Post
I'm also a believer in that if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.
Good point. Makes the NSA look pretty bad with the culture of secrecy and lying to congress about it, doesn't it?

I'm a believer in if you've done nothing wrong, you do not deserve to be treated (such as having your constitutional rights thrown in the trash) as though you have. A government that regards all its people as criminals isn't a government, it's a prison guard.

Freedom is inversely proportional to security, even by the very definition of the words.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:06 AM   #18
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It's just PR

Going by the statements of Zuckerberg and Meyer when the PRISM program was first revealed, it seems clear that the problem they have with government surveilance is less its existence but more the fact it's being talked about and makes their companies look bad - which translates into lost business.

Finding a way to make people think it's all gone now without actually changing anything will do just nicely in the eyes of those two CEOs, even when the reality ends up being very different.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:10 AM   #19
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What else would they "do" publicly? We have no idea what's going on behind closed doors, but the companies have to at least say they are fighting for reform.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amadeus71 View Post
Going by the statements of Zuckerberg and Meyer when the PRISM program was first revealed, it seems clear that the problem they have with government surveilance is less its existence but more the fact it's being talked about and makes their companies look bad - which translates into lost business.

Finding a way to make people think it's all gone now without actually changing anything will do just nicely in the eyes of those two CEOs, even when the reality ends up being very different.
Really? IIRC, with the Yahoo case it seemed more along the lines of threatened imprisonment unless the government got what it wanted, secretly. In the Google case, the NSA tapped wires going to data centers so Google had no idea what information was being accessed.

It doesn't seem to me that either Google or Yahoo or for that matter anybody else except Apple is pretending that the situation has gone away or can go away with a simple letter.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:21 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by NightFox View Post
Seriously? Based on what? Or is that just what you want to believe?

As others have said, if Apple (or others) are so vehemently opposed to this, why didn't the make a stand against it before it became public knowledge?
Apple was the last tech company to very reluctantly join PRISM. They fought the good fight for as long as was possible and now they are leading the fight against these overly intrusive programmes. I'm very proud of Apple for the extensive work they are doing in this area, as should every Apple enthusiast.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:32 AM   #22
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I like what I'm hearing in that open letter. Will the government be swayed to change their ways? I'm not holding my breath for that one.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:37 AM   #23
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This is just save face, lip service that won't go anywhere.

See look! We asked the government to stop spying on you, we are the good guys... At the same time they write software that sends and stores data in ways that more or less serves the information to the government on a silver platter.
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:40 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by NightFox View Post
Seriously? Based on what? Or is that just what you want to believe?

As others have said, if Apple (or others) are so vehemently opposed to this, why didn't the make a stand against it before it became public knowledge?
WHAT others said that?? Or is that just what you want to believe?

Apple came out with a formal statement that they had NEVER heard of anything called PRISM & certainly weren't knowingly cooperating with them.

The existence of PRISM became known to everybody at the same time. Do you think that the big companies had the info regarding PRISM leaked to them FIRST & then it trickled down to everybody else?? Your comment makes NO sense. You are suggesting that Apple should've done something bold about an entity....... prior to knowledge of their existence. Lol..... absurd!
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Old Dec 9, 2013, 03:41 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumastudetto View Post
Apple was the last tech company to very reluctantly join PRISM. They fought the good fight for as long as was possible and now they are leading the fight against these overly intrusive programmes. I'm very proud of Apple for the extensive work they are doing in this area, as should every Apple enthusiast.
The more posts I read from you the more convinced I'm that you're just playing a role and that you're not serious.
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