Tech giants call for global surveillance law reform


My doubt is equal in size to the Rock of Gibraltar. TNO.

Wouldn’t it be more effective to spend that money on lobbyists? I thought that was the basic recipe for companies to get the laws they wanted.

Buying full page ads and putting up a website just feels like a marketing stunt, trying to rebuild some lost trust in the eyes of end users.


i guess if you’re big enough, you CAN have it both ways.


I’d like to feel less cynical about all this, but I’m sorry, I don’t.

The real reason these companies are doing this is that the telco’s get to sell this data and this kind of access to the government (for outrageous fees, the bigger the telco the higher the prices) and the dotcoms are just upset that they’re often being asked to provide it for free.

The public facing side of this being framed this way is just brand marketing. I feel a little dirty every time I have to read another one of these headlines. None of these companies really care about a user, they care about being able to monetize the data they have without someone “stealing” it from them.


I wonder if boingboing feels any responsibility for taking part in this market and the marketing and ads and stories they run for these big corporations?

I mean … how much does Google pay boingboing to run that repetitive to run those repetitive to run those repetitive READ ON US GOOGLE PLUS ads.

Why are we being directed to use the very systems we are told not to trust?


‘Dear Mr President: please don’t be nasty’.

signed, Lizard-Enabling Bastards.


AOL still counts as a tech giant?


AOL always surprises me when it appears on lists like this. I imagine the original CEO, still sitting on his decaying Herman Miller chair in a forgotten back office, listening to pre-recorded tapes of modem sounds prepared by his sympathetic former employees. He picks up a disconnected phone and shouts, “Get me the President of the United States! I will not have the NSA stealing my free AOL 30-Day Trial Compact Discs from my customers’ post-mail boxes and replacing them with Spying-Ware!”


I’m with everyone else here, this is marketing BS. These companies don’t care, in fact they spend billions hoovering up all of our data to fatten their bottom lines. They are completely anti-privacy, they just don’t like the government stealing the data from them. They want to be paid for it, and want us to think they care about our privacy. That’s all this is. Utter bullshit.


Companies only spend money on lobbyists for things they actually want to see change. They make “group calls” like this for things they’re supposed to give a shit about, but actually don’t.


Reforming the law means exactly nothing so long as:

  • the laws that exist are not followed,
  • the agencies that break the law are never publicly acknowledged,
  • the times it does become public no one is ever punished, and
  • those that facilitate the lawbreaking still get paid by the lawbreakers.

Rainbow-farting unicorns have more substance than this “call for reform”.


I don’t trust any of those companies much, but I trust each and every one of them more than I trust the NSA, and if this were about getting press for these companies, I doubt that they would all want to join hands and get press right alongside of their competitors.

I’m not saying that I completely buy it, but Gov’t surveillance of the web might be a gateway to Gov’t censorship of the web, and I can see how that could hurt any tech company.

Also, keep in mind that though, yes, these tech giants are collecting data on their users all of the time, they are completely transparent about what is being collected. It’s all there in the license agreement for you to look up. The same can’t be said for the Gov’t.

I thought the participation in the system was the end user agreement? And how will the government know if the internet is working if they’re not monitoring it?

This post is sarcasm.


A good point, which would be a little more believable if those companies weren’t vigorously trying to set up walled gardens themselves.

Nah - it’s fine. OF COURSE the ad is driven by self-interest. You were expecting something else? To appreciate it, though, you have to step back and take the observer’s position:

Full page NYT ads are a fairly traditional means of yelling something from the rooftops.
(They’re mad as hell, and they aren’t gonna take it any more.)

The mainstream media focuses on whatever other mainstream media dictates, i.e., NYT.
They just got more media attention placed on the feds’ antics in a negative way.

The ‘Tech Giants’ just told their advertisers they are on their side.
Cool - keep making money, long as you keep spending it on anti-colonic efforts.

The Tech Giants just told Aunt Edna the NSA is ‘not so nice’.
She won’t believe you, and has no idea who half those guys are, and she doesn’t understand what they’re talking about, but if AOL says so?! She’s gonna be checking behind the shower curtain every time she goes potty.

Downside -

No catchy phrase. It didn’t have to be "The Heartland hates anal’, but c’mon, Giants. That’s what yu have ginormous advertising departments for, yes?

No cool logo. No cthulu-on-planet meme? 'Sup with that?

If Goog really cared, theyd be using their own advertising engine to deliver the message to browsers everywhere. (And giving away free 23andme test kits.)


Aye, they could be wielding clout like Hearst did, and try a bit of that ‘don’t be evil’ schtick with it for reals.

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“We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens.”
No, actually they don’t. Or at least the US Government doesn’t. (DeShaney vs Winnebago Department of Social Service, Castle Rock vs Gonzales etc)
However it DOES have the duty to protect your rights.

You never know… I mean, even evil bastards accidentally do good acts once in a while. Maybe, we’ve reached that odd moment when a nexus of our interests and theirs has occurred. Might as well take every possible advantage of it while it lasts, right?

But…OMG. Shouldn’t there be a ‘Hitler finds out we found out about the NSA’ rant (or 6) on YouTube by now? Anybody wants in on a collaboration, I’m down!


The replies on this thread are pretty depressing and confirms that a lot of boingboingers treat large companies as hives of evil, rather than just collections of imperfect people. :frowning:

I, for one, am glad to see this and hope to see more substantial work in terms of lobbyists/etc.