Apple and Other Tech Companies Call for Government Surveillance Reform

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. pramirez95 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2013
  3. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    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.
  4. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    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.
  5. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    John Hancock. 'Nuff said.

  6. gamikun macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2013
    the world is changing

    I think this is going in a good direction
  7. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    Why did they do this before it became public knowledge, since they were complying with government requests.

    No free PR in that I suppose.
  8. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    I'm pretty sure Apple is leading this effort and the others are just tagging along for the ride.
  9. GafferGaffer macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2011
    Why is he Apple logo missing from the website ?

    (It is on the letter below but not at the end of the intro)
  10. ellsworth macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2007
    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.
  11. arctic macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2008
    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.
  12. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    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.
  13. mejsric macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2013
    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.
  14. pk7 macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2011
    The government right now.

    Attached Files:

  15. NightFox macrumors 68020


    May 10, 2005
    Shropshire, UK
    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?
  16. ThunderSkunk macrumors 68030


    Dec 31, 2007
    Milwaukee Area
    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.
  17. Amadeus71 macrumors member


    Feb 12, 2013
    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.
  18. djtech42 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2012
    West Chester, OH
    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.
  19. MacLC macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2013
    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.
  20. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    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.
  21. macs4nw macrumors 601


    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.
  22. lostngone macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2003
    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.
  23. friendlyfire macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2013
    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!
  24. Oletros macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2009
    Premià de Mar
    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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