Social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn have banded together with other tech firms like Aol, Apple, and Google to protest an increasing level of government surveillance brought to light in 2013.
While most Americans haven’t really parsed the impact of exploding government surveillance of nearly all forms of communication, social media and more standard alike, Twitter and Facebook are frequently at the fore of the debate — often taking the heat for “exposing” people despite the large scale of domestic spying programs.
To say Twitter and Facebook are rich stores of data is accurate, but to say that the services are in any way a meaningful factor in what is technological erosion of privacy rights may not be. But given the trajectory of domestic surveillance, the companies have launched Reform Government Surveillance to battle back against the encroachment upon civil liberties, technological or not.
On their site’s mission statement over at Reform Government Surveillance, the companies — Aol, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo! — state:
“Consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, we hereby call on governments to endorse the following principles and enact reforms that would put these principles into action.”
High-ranking reps from all the entities have made comments on the page, with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook saying:
“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information. The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says:
“Twitter is committed to defending and protecting the voice of our users. Unchecked, undisclosed government surveillance inhibits the free flow of information and restricts their voice. The principles we advance today would reform the current system to appropriately balance the needs of security and privacy while safeguarding the essential human right of free expression.”
A letter signed by Twitter, Facebook, and their collaborators on the Reform Government Surveillance site can be read here.