Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has united with other tech companies including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in demanding that the U.S. government become more transparent in terms of its surveillance efforts.
Coalition to call on the president
The Washington Post’s Craig Timberg reports that today the coalition of tech companies and civil liberties organizations will ask President Obama and Congress. They’re expected to send a letter with over 50 signatures in an effort to push government agencies into accountability regarding electronic eavesdropping.
The letter will urge government officials to take off restrictions which prevent companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) from disclosing how many surveillance requests U.S. authorities send them regarding national security. A number of companies do already release transparency reports regarding requests for information related to criminal investigations.
All Things D’s John Paczkowski reports that the coalition wants companies to be allowed to release not only the number of requests they get for information, but also the number of accounts or devices affected by the information requested and also the number of requests which asked for the content of various communications, information about subscribers and other details.
Apple, others to urge officials to release their own reports
In addition to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are all expected to sign the letter. In addition to requesting the ability to release their own transparency reports regarding information requests for national security, they’re planning to urge officials to be more transparent about their own efforts. The coalition wants the government to release its own transparency reports covering the information it is gathering from companies and organizations.
The Center for Democracy and Technology, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C., organized the coalition and the writing of the letter. Over 20 different companies, media freedom organizations and trade organizations signed the letter. In all, 63 different groups have attached their signatures to the letter.
Hearing held Wednesday
The letter from these groups comes the day after a hearing was held about the NSA’s PRISM data mining program. Members of the House expressed their concerns about the program and sent letters asking for tech companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to receive more leeway regarding transparency of surveillance requests.