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Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo Form Alliance Against NSA 293

Posted by samzenpus
from the team-up dept.
mrspoonsi writes "BBC reports: Leading global technology firms have called for 'wide-scale changes' to US government surveillance. Eight firms, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo, have formed an alliance called Reform Government Surveillance group. The group has written a letter to the US President and Congress arguing that current surveillance practice 'undermines the freedom' of people. It comes after recent leaks detailed the extent of surveillance programs. 'We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide,' the group said in an open letter published on its website."
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Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo Form Alliance Against NSA

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  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:25AM (#45639599)
    This is nothing but a PR stunt by these firms to save face, since they all happily collaborated with NSA's dirty practices in exchange of dough and political favors.

    I say fuck 'em all!!
  • by ClassicASP (1791116) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:30AM (#45639651)
    We probably won't hear a word about these folks in public TV due to well orchestrated govt control, which makes it less obvious to the public. I say: all seven of these should stand together united with the same message and video on their homepages. That'll force their way into public television networks.
  • what bullshit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:30AM (#45639659) Homepage

    why, in heaven's name, would ANYONE believe this nonsense after all the lying that these corps. and agencies have been stuffing up our butts?

    talk about astroturf on a grand scale...more like astroturd.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:38AM (#45639761) Homepage Journal

    Is a bit different than that. They are complaining now because the revelation of this is making their paid users to stop using their services. They may or may not be worried about their users privacy, but for sure they are worried about their profits.

    In the other hand, tif well they knew the cut of the cake they were getting, they didn't know about all the other companies into the same and how wide and deep were this. Also, the revelation on how the NSA infiltrated their internal network [] without their knowledge or consent could had raised some alarms.

    In any case, if the NSA head can lie to the congress [] without consequences after that being found out, why can't they tell all of them that it is over while keep doing it (and keeping the backdoors in their internal networks to keep doing the dirty work) or force them in a way or another to tell the world that all is over when is not, or even plant a fake whiteblower that confirms that the NSA stopped their programs ? By now trust is deeply broken in all that surrounds the NSA, if tomorrow they say that 2+2=4 you should bet that they are doing math in base 3.

  • Re:what bullshit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:48AM (#45639885)

    one good thing to come from the NSA scandal is that people are finally realizing they can't trust:

    - the government (the data collectors and manipulators, at least)

    - big business

    and in a way, its a KIND of progress! its a start. to at least admit there is a problem, that's good progress.

    however, step 2 is a bit harder to accomplish...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:19PM (#45640225)

    Their statement should read "You're fucking up our business model and shareholder equity, stop copying us!"

    And what would be wrong with that? The NSA is doing significant economic harm to the only sector of the US economy that's still growing, and it's doing so without a commensurate increase in the physical security of the 300,000,000 US citizens it claims to be protecting.

    Unless NSA can demonstrate that the value of the industrial espionage it conducts exceeds the value it destroys due to customers fleeing US-based IT businesses (and I'm fine with that debate taking place behind closed doors), it needs to seriously consider renouncing its misguided and economically harmful surveillance programmes.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ausekilis (1513635) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:42PM (#45641121)

    Linux is always an alternative.

    Not if the publisher of a particular business-critical application refuses to make it work in Wine, or the manufacturer of a particular business-critical peripheral refuses to provide a Linux driver.

    If that publisher sees incentive (i.e. money) or disincentive (i.e. loss of money), they'll play ball. There are Point of Sale systems that work on top of Linux, some medical systems work on Linux, even your cell phone is likely to be based on Linux (Android). I can all but guarantee that if a government body or a sufficiently large corporation say "we love this, but need it to work on that", you'll see motion in that direction. Look at Valve's push to Linux. It's not a blowaway success, but it's certainly stirring things up.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:24PM (#45641597)
    No, I think they also want the NSA to keep it a secret this time, as people finding out about it causes headaches.
  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmajik (96670) <> on Monday December 09, 2013 @05:20PM (#45643481) Homepage Journal

    I think Snowden changed the game on this

    Before the Snowden revelation, it wasn't widely accepted that the government was reading everything anybody ever wrote. For _one_ of these companies to come forward to complain was like the prisoners dilemma. There was no guarantee that other players would follow suit, so for GOOG to come out and say "The NSA is spying on you and we can't stop them" puts GOOG at a competitive disadvantage. Furthermore, all of this stuff was secret; not to be disclosed publicly, etc. Companies weren't sure how much teeth there were in those rules, so were further hesitant to talk much about it.

    Post Snowden, its all different. Now its an open secret that this happens, and it happens to everyone. Now there's no posturing or competitive advantage to be exploited; everyone is in the same boat. This is a populist issue and once one company made noise about sticking it to the NSA, the rest were going to have to follow.

    The other thing that has changed is that Snowden and Lavabit have both gone public. The public has spoken. We now have proof of what kind of stuff the Feds will do and how far they'll go to keep it quiet. The people who leaked this stuff survived.

    The government might be able to sue Yahoo or Lavabit or any of them individually, but it cannot sue the entire tech industry.. not right now.

  • by Branciforte (2437662) on Monday December 09, 2013 @05:44PM (#45643815)

    I work at Google.

    Before anything was reported by Snowden, plans were already in place to protect user data. It started with the switch to HTTPS, continued with us encrypting user data on disk, and we were beginning to encrypt data that was transferred between datacenters. The revelation that the NSA was tapping into undersea cables only accelerated the timeline.

How much net work could a network work, if a network could net work?