These companies probably legitimately care about Internet freedom, and they are probably sick of being pushed around by the Feds, but this letter has everything to do with business. If people can’t trust that their Gmail is secure (and boy is it not) this will eventually affect Google’s bottom line. If people think that doing business with Microsoft also means giving the NSA a back door into the heart of their enterprise, people will stop buying Microsoft.
Tech is arguably the most important industry in the United States. It would be a shame to flush the Silicon Valley down the toilet, or turn it into some wing of the global security apparatus (which is pretty much the same as flushing it down the toilet.)
We are very pleased to see this open letter.
The companies behind the letter are AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo. They set out a list of five principles at the ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com website including (1) no bulk collection of user data; (2) independent judicial review of intelligence agency demands, (3) transparent reports on what is being compelled; (4) no country firewalls against cross border data; and (5) a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) among countries to prevent conflicts.
Read more at Against Crony Capitalism.org