It's Finally Dawning On Tech Companies That All This NSA Stuff Is Bad For Them
from the more-of-that-please dept
Obviously, the news of the NSA infiltrating private network links between data centers should make these companies even angrier. It appears that Google is getting there, though Yahoo still doesn't seem to realize what just happened.
However, in an interesting move that at least hints at potential further realization from the tech industry that they need to support user privacy rights, the big guys -- Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL -- have all sent a letter to Congress in support of the USA Freedom Act. In it, they once again talk up the importance of greater transparency. But, also, for the first time that I can remember, they appear to be arguing for even more:
Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done. Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs.And, even with the letter being sent today, it was almost certainly written and approved before yesterday's revelations -- meaning that this was before they realized the NSA was trying (and succeeding) to backdoor into their networks without their knowledge. Hopefully they'll start pushing for even more significant reforms as well. Some have argued that the tech industry has been complicit in the NSA surveillance efforts, while others have suggested they were compelled, or even tricked/hacked into it. The evidence suggests a combination of all of those factors (in varying degrees across the different companies). But if they want to actually regain the trust of their users, they should stand up for the rights of their users and support the efforts to create real change and to stop illegal surveillance, rather than just increasing transparency.