Apple, Microsoft, Google and more fight the privacy fight with NSA-bashing letter

Eight of the biggest tech companies on the planet have put their names against an open letter to US president Barack Obama that asks for urgent reform of the NSA and the way it can access our information.

With several of them being named and shamed in the Edward Snowdon Prism leaks, it's no surprise that AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have publicly suggested that things have to change.

The letter - published in the Washington Post and set to appear as a print ad across the US press - calls for greater transparency over the number and type of requests made by government agencies to release user data, and an overhaul of the way in which our privacy is safeguarded.


"Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done," reads the letter.

"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.

"We also continue to encourage the Administration to increase its transparency efforts and allow us to release more information about the number and types of requests that we receive, so that the public debate on these issues can be informed by facts about how these programs operate."

Critical reforms

"We urge the Administration to work with Congress in addressing these critical reforms that would provide much needed transparency and help rebuild the trust of Internet users around the world."

It's clear that the eight companies involved feel that the government has put them in a terrible position - drastically reducing user trust under the critical but often abused banner of national security.

It remains to be seen if the companies continue this public outrage across other countries - including the UK.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.