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:
  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
Related Posts
Read More

2013 Action Plan for Jobs & Business On-line Voucher

Today the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Jobs & Enterprise Minister  launched the government's Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the next step in the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy based on enterprise, innovation and exports. The Plan contains 333 actions to be implemented in 2013 by 16 Government Departments and 46 agencies.  It has a significant technology element to it - ICT Skills and Big Data get specific focus having consideration for how they can impact the Irish economy in a positive way.
Read More

Fingal Enterprise Week 2012

​I spoke about how disruptive technology is changing things for both the consumer and consequentially the SME. The single message that I hoped to leave attendees with was 'think mobile'. With mobile devices accounting for at least 20% of internet traffic now, and we're told these mobile users are more likely to buy, it's critical that business owners prepare themselves to deal with the mobile customer. Why?

Read More

Open data, does not mean losing our data. Get it?

Not much time passes between reports of another authority, company or agency losing someone's data. Spying or intelligence agencies nosing around your data is one thing, I'm referring to how people are losing our data the old fashioned way; laptop, train home, oops. Laptops, tablets and USB keys - all of them it seems appear to be dropping out of sight, and control at an alarming rate the world over. I know we live in the era of open data - but someone needs to explain that means sharing data, not leaving it in a pub lavatory.