Tech Companies Want Transparency on Security Probes

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 01:13 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Image: Tech Companies Want Transparency on Security Probes
(AP)
Technology companies that have been criticized for aiding the National Security Agency in its Internet surveillance program are calling on U.S. officials to ease the secrecy surrounding the investigations.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft all want the industry to be more open about the nature and extent of information being collected about private citizens, reported The Washington Post.

The companies made an appeal for greater transparency amid fallout from technology contractor Edward Snowden's leak of details of the NSA's top-secret PRISM program, which collected vast amounts of online data on U.S. citizens with the companies' help.

They hope to recast themselves as defenders of user privacy rather than abettors of government surveillance, the Post said.

Google and Facebook, for example, both made requests to the government to be permitted to publish information about the size and scope of the national security requests they've received. Yahoo said, "We recognize the importance of privacy and security, and we also believe that transparency … will help build public trust," the Post reported.

Related: Google Says US Doesn't Get 'Unfettered Access' to Data

"If these companies can't be transparent with users about their participation in surveillance with the U.S. government, they will lose a lot of business," Peter Eckersley, technology project director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Post.

"If foreign companies know that using Google Docs or email will expose them to U.S. spies, they will choose a different platform."



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