Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are usually seen as the bitterest of rivals. From the point of view of a consumer that makes sense, and investors are able to see some of the logic to it. It is hard to deny, however, that the companies have much more in common than what differentiates them. One of those common interests caused the companies to team up in recent days.
Both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) signed an open letter expressing support for the patriotically named USA Freedom Act. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy and Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, seeks to curb the powers of the National Security Agency.
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Apple / Google NSA open letter
The letter, which was published by The Washington Post today, said “we welcome the debate about how to protect both national security and privacy interests and we applaud the sponsors of the USA Freedom Act for making an important contribution to this discussion.”
The companies are looking for “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.”
The letter was signed, with corporate logos, by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL). It is sure to spur some debate about the NSA’s actions over the last decade.
NSA spying uproar
The open letter and the legislation are part of a general backlash against revelations that the National Security Agency has been using its vast resources to spy on people in the United States and across the world. Because the agency has been using phone and internet services to collect the private information, internet companies like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been at the forefront of the program.
That has been bad for the image of the search giant, and it hasn’t been good for companies like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) either. It’s clear that technology companies are against the confiscation of their data, and now they’re trying to help legislate against it.