On Monday, several of the largest and most popular IT service providers called for Global Government Surveillance Reform. In a joint letter, AoL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo called on the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.
The letter underscored the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, and it highlighted a new set of principles on which to enact reforms. The principles include the following:
- Limiting Governments’ Authority to Collect Users’ Information
- Oversight and Accountability
- Transparency About Government Demands
- Respecting the Free Flow of Information
- Avoiding Conflicts Among Government
As the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon holds an oversight hearing regarding U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities, this letter provides a timely and useful call for the discussion to be cast more broadly.
Given the opportunity for laws of various jurisdiction to conflict with the laws of others, it is incumbent upon governments to work together to resolve the conflict, it is critical for governments around the world to work to establish a robust, principled, and transparent framework to govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as improved mutual legal assistance treaty — or “MLAT” — processes. In recent comments to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board and the Presidential Review Group, SIIA called on the U.S. Government to take a leading role in achieving this objective.