Internet companies write: “we need to know” letter to Washington

Yesterday, 60 of the world’s leading internet companies including Google and Facebook, the advocacy organisations ACLU and The Electronic Frontier Foundation and technology investors, including Y Combinator wrote to the US administration urging for more transparency to be allowed, following the recent revelations regarding the PRISM surveillance program first published in The Guardian and Washington Post.

With the existing legislation, Internet Service Providers and other Web companies can be compelled to provide the government with the metadata of customers, yet at the same time they are often prevented from acknowledging those requests. A number of companies have published vague information about these FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Acts) requests in recent months, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, yet the internet firms are prevented by law from publishing specific details of these requests.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations. We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.”

— We Need To Know Transparency Letter: July 18 2013

We Need to Know Transparency Letter

The 63 signatories on the letter sent this week say the US government should ensure that the internet firms entrusted with users security and privacy are allowed to report the statistics illustrating the number of government requests made under the PATRIOT Act and FISA, as well as the number of accounts or individuals impacted and figures reflecting instances in which the contents of phone calls or emails are recovered.

  1. Patriot Act : Wikipedia
  2. FISA : Wikipedia
  3. Raytheon predict a RIOT: redcert.com
  4. Snowdens Message Buried in Mud  
  5. NSA leaks coverage at RT News
  6. Prism: coverage at the Guardian
  7. We Need To Know : Transparency letter
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