When news reports surfaced that the NSA were not only spying on our smartphones, Facebook pages, and email, but also on our World of Warcraft accounts, outrage spread across the Internet. Yes, for some reason, WoW chat seems to have been the line that shall not be crossed. Eight of the world’s largest tech companies have banded together to organize the Reform Government Surveillance website, while sending a message to President Barack Obama and Congress.
In the open letter, the eight firms (Microsoft, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, AOL, Google, Facebook and Apple) stated:
"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we cherish. It’s time for a change."
View full text of this open letter on the Reform Government Surveillance website.
However, these tech companies aren't stopping there. They'll be beefing up security and encryption on their sites to keep the nosy NSA out. These plans have also been outlined on the website. The website also outlines five key principles that these companies feel are important to protect their users, including preventing the government from accessing personal information, more transparency, and more accountability.
Last week, President Obama proposed reforms to the NSA, so let’s hope the support of these eight tech giants will continue to push him and Congress in the right direction. Meanwhile, it might be a good idea to learn how to browse the web anonymously or set up your own servers. Only if you have something to hide, of course.