The biggest names in technology are joining civil liberties groups in demanding more transparency around the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance efforts. The alliance is calling on President Obama and congressional leaders to allow Internet, telephone, and Web-based service providers to report national security-related requests for information with greater specificity.
The request comes a month after details about the government’s digital communications monitoring system, PRISM, first leaked, according to AllThingsD.
The group, which numbers 63 companies, investors, non-profits, and trade organizations, wants to report:
- The number of government requests for information about their users
- The number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested
- The number of requests that sought communications content, basic subscriber information, and/or other information.
Currently, companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft are legally barred from discussing their involvement in the PRISM program or note specific government requests they receive.
In a letter to Washington, the group explains:
We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities. This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use.
According to AllThingsD, the group includes: AOL, Apple, Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook, Google, Heyzap, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Meetup, Mozilla, Reddit, salesforce.com, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, YouNow, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, New Atlantic Ventures, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center for Democracy & Technology, Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, Public Knowledge, The Computer & Communications Industry Association, Reporters Without Borders, and The Wikimedia Foundation.