LONDON — Major technology companies, stung by poor publicity for having helped the U.S. government access personal data, on Monday issued an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for tighter controls on surveillance.
As part of a global campaign to reform data collection, Google, Facebook, Apple and others said that concerns over national security should be weighed against individual rights.
"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," the letter said. "This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for a change."
The letter follows this summer's revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the secret programs that critics argue violate privacy rights. Intelligence officials argue that the NSA's tactics have helped to disrupt terror attacks and that they've taken care not to routinely look at the content of conversations or messages by American citizens.