Cyber Security and Emerging Threats Khemesse Diop

The Alliance of Social Media: Technological Giants call for ‘Wide-Scale Changes’ to U.S. Government Surveillance

Believe it or not, but the eight top leading global technological firms of AOL, Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo have formed an alliance called Reform Government Surveillance Group  arguing to the US President and Congress that current surveillance practice “undermines the freedom” of its people. They expressed in their open letter to Washington for “urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.”

As you may already know, this of course has a lot to do with the incident that happened over the summer with Edward Snowden.  As a reminder, Edward Snowden, an Ex- U.S intelligence contractor, leaked documents to the media highlighting the various methods used U.S by agencies to gather information.

On its website, it states that “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.” It then goes on to list five principles that it wishes for the government to endorse, with the first principle being “Limiting Governments’ Authority to  Collect Users’ Information.”

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, the world’s biggest social networking firm said that “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.”

The members of the group argued that recent revelations indicate that surveillances needed to be controlled.  According to BBC, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook have all confirmed they have complied with orders to hand over data relating to “national security matters” to the US authorities, but have been forbidden from saying exactly how many requests they had received or details about their scope.

These technological giants are indeed pushing for anti-snooping from the government. As Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Microsoft indicated “People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”

Khemesse Diop
Khemesse Diop completed her BA Honours in International Studies from Glendon College, York University. She interned in Ghana with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She is specifically interested in the uncertain prosperity of Africa’s development. Her focus derives from her interests in the extraction of Africa’s natural resources through promised business partnership and infrastructure by foreign affiliations. She plans to continue with her studies in Public Policy & Administration at a graduate level.