updated 03:09 pm EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Asks for limits to government surveillance
Several US technology executives -- including Apple's Tim Cook, Google's Larry Page, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer -- have published an open letter as a part of the Reset the Net anti-surveillance campaign. The letter complains that the USA Freedom Act -- which recently passed through the House of Representatives -- still permits bulk collection of Internet metadata, despite promises by the White House and Congress to halt the practice. The executives are also asking for the flexibility to publish more detail about the quantity and types of government requests they get for customer information.
"Confidence in the Internet, both in the U.S. and internationally, has been badly damaged over the last year. It is time for action," the letter states.
Metadata represents the details surrounding communication, such as email addresses and send dates, rather than actual content. It can however potentially be more revealing about a person, since it helps identify patterns of behavior and interpersonal relationships.
The companies mentioned in the letter have all had to cope with public scrutiny and/or criticism for their involvement -- willing or unwilling -- in domestic and international data spying by the National Security Agency. Aside from the executives mentioned above, other names on the letter include Twitter's Dick Costolo, Dropbox's Drew Houston, and LinkedIn's Jeff Weiner.