10 Dec 2013

Tech companies want limits on govt surveillance

12:32 pm on 10 December 2013

Eight technology companies in the United States have launched a campaign for new rules on how governments collect user information.

Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo have formed an alliance called Reform Government Surveillance group.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama, they argue that current surveillance practice "undermines the freedom" of people.

Recent leaks have detailed the extent of surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency.

''There is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information," said Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

"The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right."

The group called upon the federal government to give companies the rights to provide details of any such future data requests to their users.

"Transparency is essential to a debate over governments' surveillance powers and the scope of programs that are administered under those powers," it said.

The BBC reports the combined market capitalisation of the eight companies is $US1.4 trillion, giving them a lot of sway as a lobby group.