updated 09:48 pm EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Apple, Google, Microsoft all involved; demanding more reports
A growing coalition of technology companies are reportedly petitioning the President and the US government to demand information and increased transparency of intelligence service communications monitoring. The letter declares the intent to regularly reveal information to the public about government surveillance requests, and is demanding the government also report the number of requests about users, the number of accounts or devices for which information was requested, and the volume of requests seeking content or other subscriber information.
AllThingsD obtained a copy of the letter claims that "basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement-related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations. We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government's national security-related authorities. This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use."
The coalition was formed following a PRISM program security presentation leak provided by a long-term intelligence contractor to expose the "gross intrusion on privacy." The highly-classified program has been in operation since the last year of the Bush administration, but was renewed by the Obama administration. A later report from Reuters quoted an anonymous senior US official saying that the program is only used to target people outside the United States, as required by NSA mandates. The scope and volume of the retained data kept by intelligence agencies as a result of the program is unknown.
Companies and organizations involved in the coalition include AOL, Apple, Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook, Google, Heyzap, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Mozilla, Reddit, salesforce.com, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, YouNow, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, New Atlantic Ventures, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center for Democracy & Technology, Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, Public Knowledge, The Computer & Communications Industry Association, Reporters Without Borders, and the Wikimedia Foundation.