Tech giants call on president and Congress to rein in Internet spy programs

Tech leaders outlined their recommendations in an open letter and website — — endorsed by AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an unusual joint statement, leading Internet companies called Monday for new legal restrictions on government spy programs that the companies view as an increasing threat both to their customers’ privacy and their own business interests.

“The U.S. government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that accompanied an open letter to the president and Congress. The letter was also endorsed by top executives at Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and other Internet giants who are usually fierce competitors.

“Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users,” said Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer.

Many of the companies have been beefing up their own technological defenses, including using advanced forms of encryption, since news leaks about the National Security Agency’s collection of Internet users’ data emerged over the summer. They’ve also waged individual public relations efforts to convince consumers that companies don’t hand over files unless faced with legal orders from government agencies.


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