In what is termed to be a “Call To Action” letter, tech and internet giants that include Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have officially sent a request to President Obama to ensure greater transparency in the PRISM program and to grant permission to disclose PRISM request logs to the public.
The letter has been addressed to all the officials occupying the top seats of the nation, including the Director of National Intelligence, Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, Attorney General and the Director of National Security Agency.
The letter made a special mention of the USA PATRIOT Act and other national security related statutes that allowed the NSA and PRISM program to generate blanket orders to force the tech companies into revealing user data. The letter also indicated that the public be allowed to be completely informed about the PRISM data requests and to allow the companies to release periodic statistics on data requests made byor other surveillance programs.
However, the participants also acknowledged that such a massive step forward is difficult under current circumstances, and it only requires the Congress to initiate public awareness programs by first allowing the companies to release the number of requests made by PRISM until now. It also mentioned that the Government should introduce laws that will ensure greater transparency in these cases.
The letter went on to mention that the secrecy of online and telephonic surveillance is unwarranted, and that the Government has been transparent in their laws and the activities of law enforcement agencies for years without any interruption to Criminal or Civil investigations or related proceedings in court. The letter clearly points out that the US has always been an innovator in the field of Internet and that user privacy should be paramount for the world to trust the US as an innovator and a service provider for billions of users across the globe.
The letter has been co-signed by some of the largest names in the industry and other Non-Profit organizations as well as Trade Associations. You can read the complete official request here.