Tech companies could force NSA reform if they wanted to. Why haven't they?


President Obama at meeting with executives from leading tech companies at the White House in Washington December 17, 2013. Pictured are (L-R): Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Obama, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Pictured are (L-R): Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Obama, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque.

In a Guardian op-ed, Trevor Timm writes:

The CEOs of the major tech companies came out of the gate swinging 10 months ago, complaining loudly about how NSA surveillance has been destroying privacy and ruining their business. They still are. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently called the US a "threat" to the Internet, and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, called some of the NSA tactics "outrageous" and potentially "illegal". They and their fellow Silicon Valley powerhouses – from Yahoo to Dropbox and Microsoft and Apple and more – formed a coalition calling for surveillance reform and had conversations with the White House. But for all their talk, the public has come away empty handed.

Read: Silicon Valley could force NSA reform, tomorrow. What's taking so long? [The Guardian. Trevor is executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, of which I am a proud board member.]

Notable Replies

  1. IMB says:

    Because they like to present dramatic theater as much as politicians do, while actually doing nothing. It keeps them all fat and happy, while they throw symbolic crumbs to the pigeons.

  2. The CEOs of the major tech companies came out of the gate swinging made the requisite placating noises 10 months ago...

    Fixed that for him.

  3. IMB says:

    I feel like, at this point, the money I send to the ACLU counts more than a vote.

  4. A single vote is worth little anymore.

    Voting en masse is worth more than ever. If voting was worthless against the status quo, they'd never spend so much time, effort and money disenfranchising and discouraging people from doing it.

    In exchange they bankroll or hire the individual regulators and elected executive/legislative and permit the state to infest the business cherry picking what it wants. A symbiosis which in the end is a parasite on the populace.

    Agreed.

    Serious socialism for big business as well as protection (edit)from(/edit) upcoming small players.

    I see what you did there, but I think the better term is corporatism, not socialism. Socialism implies it does something for society, which it doesn't (overall).

    My trite semantics aside, all in all, I agree with you except I do think voting is vital. A piss poor amount of the public votes as is and look where we are today.

    That said, whenever I say this, I often get a knee-jerk reaction that voting alone isn't all that's needed. So, I'll just go ahead and preemptively say that while voting is vital, much more than voting itself is needed as well.

    Things like this, for example: http://www.rootstrikers.org/take_action

    I'd also like to see a much more concerted effort by boingboing to start ferreting out candidates and supporting them. I appreciate all that boingboing does, but I've never seen the site really get involved in that process.

  5. He already told you - Herding Mutant Cats.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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