Tech firms and civil liberties groups are behind the publication of a letter today which asks the U.S. government for more openness regarding communications surveillance, and suggests that it compiles a transparency report on their surveillance tactics.
“Just as the United States has long been an innovator when it comes to the Internet and products and services that rely upon the Internet,” reads part of the letter, “so too should it be an innovator when it comes to creating mechanisms to ensure that government is transparent, accountable, and respectful of civil liberties and human rights.”
As well as the big triumvirate of Google, Apple, and Facebook, AOL, Digg, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, and YouTube have all put their names to the missive. Trade organizations, non-profits, and investors have also joined the party, which asks the government to produce a transparency list and requests that the firms themselves are allowed to reveal:
- How many government requests they have received requiring information about their users.
- How many people, accounts, or devices are being investigated.
- How many requests for communications content, subscriber information, and other details.
Google and Microsoft have already requested permission to reveal their FISA-related data requests, while another signatory, Yahoo, had some success in this arena earlier this week.