Apple, Google, Yahoo And More Unite Demanding Surveillance Reform To Protect People's Privacy
December 14, 2013
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.
While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed.
Consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, we hereby call on governments to endorse the following principles and enact reforms that would put these principles into action.
1. Limiting Governments' Authority to Collect Users' Information
Governments should codify sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data that balance their need for the data in limited circumstances, users’ reasonable privacy interests, and the impact on trust in the Internet. In addition, governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of Internet communications.
2. Oversight and Accountability
Intelligence agencies seeking to collect or compel the production of information should do so under a clear legal framework in which executive powers are subject to strong checks and balances. Reviewing courts should be independent and include an adversarial process, and governments should allow important rulings of law to be made public in a timely manner so that the courts are accountable to an informed citizenry.
3. Transparency About Government Demands
Transparency is essential to a debate over governments’ surveillance powers and the scope of programs that are administered under those powers. Governments should allow companies to publish the number and nature of government demands for user information. In addition, governments should also promptly disclose this data publicly.
4. Respecting the Free Flow of Information
The ability of data to flow or be accessed across borders is essential to a robust 21st century global economy. Governments should permit the transfer of data and should not inhibit access by companies or individuals to lawfully available information that is stored outside of the country. Governments should not require service providers to locate infrastructure within a country’s borders or operate locally.
5. Avoiding Conflicts Among Governments
In order to avoid conflicting laws, there should be a robust, principled, and transparent framework to govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as improved mutual legal assistance treaty — or “MLAT” — processes. Where the laws of one jurisdiction conflict with the laws of another, it is incumbent upon governments to work together to resolve the conflict.
“AOL is committed to preserving the privacy of our customers’ information, while respecting the right of governments to request information on specific users for lawful purposes. AOL is proud to unite with other leading Internet companies to advocate on behalf of our consumers.”—Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL
“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information. The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”—Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
“The security of users’ data is critical, which is why we’ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information. This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world. It’s time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way.”—Larry Page, CEO, Google
Just A Kid In The Car Absolutely Destroying 'Smooth Criminal' On His Ukulele
Two Cats Won't Give Up On Trying To Enter A Museum
Physicist Wins Ig Noble Prize For Study On Whether Cats Should Be Classified As Liquids Or Solids
This Weird Looking Cat Is Creeping People Out, But We Think He's Adorable
Read What The Jewish Nurse Wrote After Caring For The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter
Meet Maverick, The Trucker Cat Who Travels The US With His Sidekick Goose
Mom Can't Turn Away For A Second
Two West Virginia Fans Stole The Show At Football Game
Mailman Drops Off Package, Then Waits Patiently For His Friends
Bald Eagle Couple Gets Into Argument While Assembling Nest
Brian May Tears Up While Singing 'Love Of My Life' With The Crowd In Amsterdam