Big Internet Companies Are Taking The Surveillance Transparency Fight To The UK

/ 3 years ago


In the USA we’ve seen Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter all make a big deal about the “NSA saga”. The aforementioned companies have taken the NSA to court to be given the permission to publicly disclose the number of information requests they had to respond to from the NSA and other government agencies in the USA. Of course they haven’t won that transparency battle entirely because the majority of the data that has been released was in aggregate form to prevent the public from being able to work out the number of requests made by each agency.

In the UK the Guardian reports that those same five companies are now lobbying the UK parliament to get a similar level of transparency from the UK’s NSA-equivalent – GCHQ.

“We recommend that requests for user data made by the UK government are made as transparent as possible. Each of our companies already publishes a transparency report and, as public concern grows around the world about the scale of digital surveillance, we believe that greater transparency is important in encouraging a full public debate and maintaining confidence that powers are not being abused.”

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter also requested that the government should put on hold any proposed legislation that would hand the government even more surveillance powers. Despite fears about new surveillance powers, which were rejected by the Liberal Democrats earlier this year, many say the government already has these powers under the secret “Tempora” program deployed by the GCHQ.

Image courtesy of GCHQ

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