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Revolt Against NSA: Major Internet Companies

Written by Gary North on December 9, 2013

The National Security Agency is immune to budget cuts. It is therefore beyond reform. Congress pays it $52.6 billion a year to do whatever it wants.

The only reason we know what the NSA’s budget is, is because Edward Snowden leaked it. There will be no further leaks.

Eight major Internet firms, including Google, Apple, and Microsoft, have sent a letter of protest to Congress. It will have no effect on the NSA’s budget. If it does not lead to a budget cut, the letter will have no effect. The only way to change a bureaucracy is to cut its budget.

The reason why the eight companies are protesting is because of Edward Snowden’s leaks. Snowden’s leaks were crucial to exposing what the NSA is doing. We now know far more about the world we live in. But this not going to change until the NSA’s budget is cut. But the NSA’s budget is not a matter of public record any more. There was only one “Snowden moment.”

Still, it is nice that the NSA is being exposed, not because anything will come of this, but because nothing will come of it. The public is learning that Congress is just as impotent as people have suspected. They will learn that nothing changes in Washington that would in any way restore liberty.

The longer that the protests go on, the better. Voters need to learn that they are permanent victims of the Washington bureaucracy for as long as Congress can extract wealth from citizens, low-interest loans from investors, and fiat money from the Federal Reserve System.

Here is a copy of the joint letter.

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Today AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo joined together to propose principles for reforming government surveillance laws and practices. The companies also urged the President and the United States Congress to take the lead on reform with an open letter that reads:

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

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 favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual–rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for change.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure­­–deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks, and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit www.reformgovernmentsurveillance.com.


Company executives also provided statements on the principles of reform:

“AOL is committed to preserving the privacy of our customers’ information, while respecting the right of governments to request information on specific users for lawful purposes. AOL is proud to unite with other leading Internet companies to advocate on behalf of our consumers,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL.

“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information. The U.S. Government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.” -­ Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

“The security of users’ data is critical, which is why we’ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information. This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world. It’s time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way.” -­ Larry Page, CEO, Google

“These principles embody Linkedin’s fundamental commitment to transparency and ensuring appropriate government practices that are respectful of our members’ expectations.” ­- Erika Rottenberg, General Counsel, LinkedIn

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.” ­­–­­­­­­ Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

“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.” ­- Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter

“Protecting the privacy of our users is incredibly important to Yahoo. Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world. Today we join our colleagues in the tech industry calling on the United States Congress to change surveillance laws in order to ensure transparency and accountability for government actions.” -­ Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo.

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13 thoughts on “Revolt Against NSA: Major Internet Companies

  1. Phillip the Bruce says:

    According to the Declaration of Independence, governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. No one that I know of consented to the NSA's broad sweeping surveillance. It is therefore unjust, and the NSA should be abolished.

  2. Exactly Phillip, just as congress should be replaced or simply scrapped along with the rest of govt. of all types.

  3. I completely agree and discuss it all in greater detail at http://www.downtoearthprepper.com. We live in massive ILLUSIONS to be sure
    lots of excellent topics and many good points on Fitness and Health ! The site is NOT at all about fat guys hording beans and bullets. It is about taking intelligent thought and actions to benefit you today! Scope it out …………..

  4. If you vote, you consent.

  5. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    It's about time! Dig deeper you find that the federal reserve system wasn't fully ratified by the states! Dig deeper you will find many, many executive orders that are not constitutional, dig deeper and you will find that cronyism is alive and well in the kickback, and vote buying arena, dig deeper and find that laws are violated everyday that we aren't enforcing, illegals are running everywhere, dig deeper and find cronyism in contracts without bids in the white house! It goes on and on! None of these have the consent of the governed! They have the consent of who matters, the marxist society we have become!

  6. Not logical or supportable. If you were unjustly imprisoned and the warden let the prisoners vote on what to eat, would your voting indicate your consent to imprisonment?

  7. No, it would simply indicate your preference about what to eat.

  8. but NSA are the result of unelected, unaccountable government appoiuntments to do what they do, and Congress have the assumed "obligation" to fund it. often not really knowing what the money is for. If it were presented to WE THE PEOPLE next week for a vote…. "shall the NSA continue its massive universal data gathering and storing activities indefinitely", yes or no, I'm certain the result would be about ninety percent NO votes. The rest would either be NSA employees or their shills, or other bought off big government goons dependent upon the NSA's "work" directly or indirectly for their meals. I had no idea this was happening until I read some of Snowden's "leaked" material just recently.. and I'm pretty up on what's happening in MY government.

  9. John Hannan says:

    Isn't that like the inmates running the prison?

  10. Exactly. Thus you have just DISPROVEN you original comment.
    Note: Voting on what to eat doesn't even among to consent of what is actually served. If you vote for steak, that does not mean you consent to meatloaf.

  11. If you don't vote, you do not consent to the outcome. Mere compliance with the outcome does not imply consent.

    Voluntarily participating in any decision-making process (including voting) implies consent to the outcome it produces. Always. If you vote, you consent.

  12. right but the govt doesn't care so just words will not be of any effect.

  13. the current state of afairs in Dc is like the inmates running the insane asylum.