With the recent bought of reports on how the US government is spying on its own citizens, safe to say there are many who might be paranoid and worried, especially given that a lot of services and technology used these days are hooked up to the one form of the internet or the other, meaning that listening in should be a relatively easy task. However there are tech companies out there who have been more than happy to disclose to their users just how often, and what exactly, has the government been asking for from them in terms of data. Companies such as Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple have not been shy in sharing this information, but it seems like AT&T does mind.
It was recently that AT&T shareholders voted to have AT&T public a transparency report on what sort of requests are made by the government. However AT&T stated that the matters “of ordinary business operations” should not be controlled by shareholders, therefore this proposal should be excluded from the ballot. According to Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York’s comptroller, who made a statement regarding AT&T’s response, “AT&T is trying to prevent the vital issue of customer privacy from coming before its shareholders. This issue is an important one for customers and shareholders alike and we feel strongly that it should be on AT&T’s ballot this spring.” What do you guys think? Should AT&T offer the same level of transparency that other tech companies have?
There has been a lot of concern lately over our government spying on us and considering the amount of technology that we own these days, not to mention how much of it is online, it would also seem like this would be too easy for anyone to listen if they had the correct tools. To that extent it seems that several big tech companies have bandied together and decided that enough is enough, and that the government should perform an NSA reform. These tech companies include the likes of Apple, AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Twitter. The companies have reportedly put a letter together to President Obama and Congress which is expected to appear in national print ads starting on Monday, according to The Hill.
What the coalition of tech companies are looking for would be to limit the government’s authority to collect user information, oversight and accountability, transparency about government demands, respecting the free flow of information, and avoiding conflicts among governments, such as in the case where the US government was reportedly caught red-handed spying on their allies. According to Google’s CEO, Larry Page, “The security of users’ data is critical, which is why we’ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information,” while Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, added, “It is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world.”