24 December 2013

Reform Government Surveillance, The 5 Principles

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings!

Tech industry chieftains unloaded on Obama about the NSA for 2 and 1/2 hours this past week --

Yahoo’s Mayer Said to Warn of Web Balkanization in Spying - Bloomberg"Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer warned President Barack Obama the backlash over U.S. spying threatens to Balkanize the Internet, as countries adopt different standards to thwart surveillance, according to an industry official. Mayer was among 15 technology company executives including Apple Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt who met at the White House...Schmidt began by going over five principles supported by the companies to changing government surveillance programs, including limiting collection of user information and transparency about government demands, according to the industry official..." (see below)

Reform Government SurveillanceThe Principles:

1 Limiting Governments’ Authority to Collect Users’ Information
Governments should codify sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data that balance their need for the data in limited circumstances, users’ reasonable privacy interests, and the impact on trust in the Internet. In addition, governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of Internet communications.

 2 Oversight and Accountability
Intelligence agencies seeking to collect or compel the production of information should do so under a clear legal framework in which executive powers are subject to strong checks and balances. Reviewing courts should be independent and include an adversarial process, and governments should allow important rulings of law to be made public in a timely manner so that the courts are accountable to an informed citizenry.

3 Transparency About Government Demands
Transparency is essential to a debate over governments’ surveillance powers and the scope of programs that are administered under those powers. Governments should allow companies to publish the number and nature of government demands for user information. In addition, governments should also promptly disclose this data publicly.

4 Respecting the Free Flow of Information
The ability of data to flow or be accessed across borders is essential to a robust 21st century global economy. Governments should permit the transfer of data and should not inhibit access by companies or individuals to lawfully available information that is stored outside of the country. Governments should not require service providers to locate infrastructure within a country’s borders or operate locally.

5 Avoiding Conflicts Among Governments
In order to avoid conflicting laws, there should be a robust, principled, and transparent framework to govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as improved mutual legal assistance treaty — or “MLAT” — processes. Where the laws of one jurisdiction conflict with the laws of another, it is incumbent upon governments to work together to resolve the conflict.

/s/ AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

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