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Tech giants rally together to curb NSA spying

A number of big-name tech companies are teaming up to lobby the Senate to pass legislation that would limit the reach of the NSA's spying activities, Bloomberg reported today. The coalition of tech giants includes the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, among others.

The goal of the lobbying is to encourage the Senate to act on issues of NSA spying in advance of the Republican takeover of the chamber next year, as many members of the political party are seen as supportive of government surveillance programs.

Addressing the effect of revelations surrounding the extent of NSA spying, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association which represents the tech giants, said that members of the group "have already lost contracts with foreign governments worth millions of dollars." This signals that the need to curb the NSA's reach is very real not only from a privacy standpoint, but an economic one as well.

We should see if their efforts pay off soon, as the companies are throwing their weight behind a Senate bill that goes up for vote on November 18th that would prevent the NSA from bulk-collecting subscribers' electronic communications.

Source: Bloomberg

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

85 Comments
  • I really fear they might not be able to !!
  • Aren't these the same people/companies that met the president in a very private meeting about a year ago? Interesting........
  • It would seem they're concerned about the wrong political party. They might just prefer to do business with the party that the vast majority of their donations flow to. Surveillance went into hyperdrive after the Dems took over and the current president lifted the restrictions. This is merely an exercise in political face-saving.
  • More should join in asap..
  • Praise Microsoft, oh so Holy. Microsoft bless me and all your fellow followers. Microsoft is love, Microsoft is life.
  • Ye alright..??
  • Microrekt
  • You should start an MS cult!
  • I already started one.
  • Can I join? Take my money and property in exchange for my membership! That's how a lot of cults work yeah...?
  • This is truly out of control
  • Seconded.
  • Third-ed?
  • Don't you need a warrant now to search someone's phone?
  • Its adorable you still think that  :) In fact even at a routine trafic stop the cops can demand to look your phone if they 'suspect' something (and they ALWAYS suspect), and then its just a matter of using a comercially available device that just rips everything from your phone. Also, in the US a fingerprint (iphone 5/6) locked phone is NOT protected in any self incrimination situation.  You HAVE TO unlock it.  But using a passcode IS protected and you do not have to provide that. So just lock your iDevice with a finger other than your thumb or index finger and when you're demanded to unlock just use any finger other than the one you actually used to lock it. Freaking scary, and a bit wierd.
  • Actually the police do require a warrant to search a phone. A supreme court case a few months ago (I forget the exact case) unanimously stated that a warrant is necessary for a search of a suspect phone.
  • My dads a cop, we just had a discussion on this this morning, it is ILLEGAL for a cop to take your phone without a search warrant.
  • Surely if your arrested then they do have that power, as it could be evidence.
  • Haha... Its gonna fail, NSA already violates every security law, they dont care. I dont either, I got nothing to hide.
  • You couldn't hide if you wanted to
  • You're part of the problem if you think this is okay just because you have nothing to hide.
  • I honestly don't care, who hasn't download a couple thousand songs illegaly from the internet? I haven't but I can I have done it once or twice. Honestly, Idc what people see, nothing can ruin my reputation.
  • I download all my music illegaly, but if i love the album I am buying it after, lol Long live torrents. Life is sharing, right? LOL I know, I know, I'm an idiot, why should i buy it when i already download it along with the booklet where i can burn it and print the booklet and have the CD, but again ... it's not original :)
  • Lol way to brag my friend. Yes torrents rule!!!
  • haha, I have "nothing" to hide, hehe. Well, i download 20 albums, i choose 2-3 who i like to buy, others go to a CD :) Hey NSA, does south Europe comes in your jurisdiction? Find Me :)
  • Haha... Ok I have to admit. The versions of Office 2013 and Windows 8.1 aren't genuine. Sorry Microsoft, I chose torrents :((
  • The point of not wanting a government to have this sort of surveillance power has to do with corruption, and that affects everyone. If they have dirt on literally everyone, blackmail is too easy. Any vote on legislation or judgment in a court case can then have the potential to be influenced by the threat of information being exposed. Even if they don't have dirt on the individual casting a vote, they may have dirt on that individual's family members. Enabling abuse will eventually lead to abuse. We've seen much of it already as things have been dished out on political opponents.
  • What about when you jack off to the weird stuff. Priorities people lets get em
  • Lol I can everyone's done it in there life but I dont make it a day to day task.
  • Then I guess you'll let anyone have your phone if you have nothing to hide right. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Ok... Maybe I have stuff to hide from certain people but not ransom strangers that ill never see again in my life.
  • If you think you're a 100% law abiding citizen then you're kidding yourself. They'll find dirt on you for something.
  • Read the book "Three Felonies a Day" - we are all guilty under the voluminous laws that nobody can understand.
  • Its impossible to do everything 100% legal, were all imperfect, and sometimes it might even be on accident.
  • Can you give me your email and password please? You have nothing to hide.
  • Idc what you see, as long as you don't change crap. That's the reason why there is a password..
  • I can't wait to be in a private(or less public) world!
  • I just noticed that Nadella was blinking.
  • North Korea is very private.
  • North Korea is like Apple OS (iOS), monotone and closed :)
  • I wouldn't say that WP is wide open either.
  • It's more open than iOS, that's for sure :)
  • Like we can use different keyboards? Choose which device that receive music and another to receive calls on Bluetooth?
  • Their not searching your phone. They're intercepting data
  • I wasn't robbing your house, I intercepted your moving truck.
  • Touché.... Touché....
  • LMAO good one.
  • Great logic!
    Jees...why are the public so accepting of these all pervasive security services. They are just eroding our civil liberties....and for what?! To keep us 'safe'.
  • Im not ok. Was just saying they aren't "inside" your phone. But heck what do I know. They prolly are!!
  • USA, home of the free?
  • not any more... Long live Edward Snowden, in peace and in freedom. There. I've said it.
  • LMFAO..!!
  • Google concerned about our privacy? Hah! Almost made me smile there Google... Almost..
  • Government starts with G. Google also starts with G. Coincidence? I think not
  • Half Life 3 confirmed
  • Google is concerned about the protecting all of the data they have collected about you, not because they care about you, but because they want to be able to sell that dat to the govt. Vs. have it stolen.
  • I thought google was doing all the spying?
  • Yup, but that's their bread and butter. And completely voluntary. Nobody forces you to use Google products. The NSA however, it doesn't matter what you're using or whether or not you give consent.
  • It's this administration and the democrats that have no issue with spying on the average American. Under Obama everything exploded exponentially in terms of violating privacy. Be it from Holder attacking journalists to the CIA eavesdropping on members of congress.
    .....
    This president keeps touting about the power of his pen, he could easily curtail the actions of a "rogue" federal agency.
    ..... All this man continues to do is lie and misrepresent. I don't expect anything other than more violations and greater concerns from the " most transparent" administration in American history.
  • True that.
  • NSA program started long before Obama was even considering presidency. If I'm correct, NSA started under Bush administration.
  • Nope, Truman started it in 1952.
  • The NSA has been around for a long time, but you are correct that the recent use of technology to harvest data in bulk and without warrants (i.e. the "PRISM" program) did start under the Bush administration.  The legal justification started with the Patriot Act in 2001 just weeks after 911.  It was controversial at that time and many argued that it was unconstitutional or that it could be misused by the government, but because of the fear caused by 911 it passed pretty quickly.  Other laws were passed later to allow the project to be exapanded.  For example, the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Most of the PRISM technology was in place by 2007.  Obama took office in 2009 so he didn't create this stuff, but he hasn't done much to stop it either.
  • Google has many contracts with the department of defense.. So no, google isn't serious about privacy issues.
  • As long as the Patriot Act stands, the NSA will be able to do whatever the hell they want. No matter how much pressure there is.
  • Exactly, and it's terrible......
  • FYI, the new bill in Congress to curtail the NSA also has an extension of the patriot act embedded in it.
  • Stop the NSA all you want, they'll just make another arm and give that one all the rights nesc.
  • Republicans supporting the NSA?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Don't make me laugh. Democrats are far more likely to support it. Just check their track record.
  • you know mullah speaks at capital hill here and the Reps have the mullah $$$$$$ the most powerful leaders back up the Reps always have always will. I think that's why people assume they will back up the NSA more so than the Dems. Also remember it was the Busch administration that pushed the patriots act, tho I think that was just an impulse push based after the 9/11 attacks
  • MS need to had encryption to internal and SD storage
  • Microsoft already has an encryption system in Windows and Windows Phone. It's called "BitLocker".
  • The NSA PRISM program doesn't get it's data from individual personal devices.  It captures most of it's data as it flows through the internet/networks.  Local encryption (which Windows Phone and Windows already have) doesn't help in that case.
  • Too late for that.
  • Hopefully we get a Republican president...
  • And what will that do? Nothing at all. Both parties are the different wings of the same bird. They do the bidding of the highest bidding lobbyists and bankers Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If his last name is Paul, maybe.
  • I'm not sure why you think what would help.  This current program was started by a Republican President and Republican controlled Congress, expanded by a Republican President and mixed Congress, and continued by a Democrat President and Democrat controlled Congress. It's easy for our politicians to pretend to be outraged publically, but obviously the majority of them on both sides want it to stay the way it is.
  • Yet they don't couple the effort to Net Neutrality?
  • And a Republican president, GW Bush, ushered in the most advanced, un-Constitutional, domestic spying programs, in history. And I mean the history OF THE PLANET!
  • Google IS NSA. That's why their search engine is so good. It's NSA tech
  • I work in the European banking industry as a decision maker for hosting, and can confirm that American cloud vendors are excluded as an option because of the patriot act and PRISM and other suspected surveillance programs.
  • Are these same companies also lobbying Russia, China, etc. to put laws in place to stop their spying? I'm guessing they probably aren't. Anyone that thinks it's just the NSA is foolish. Every country has some sort of spy agency and you better believe many do the same thing the NSA does, it just isn't public. This issue needs to be addressed globally.
  • Greetings from China.  I feel sorry for all you Americans having to live in a country where your government watches and controls everything you do, where you have no freedom to be as you like and where everything you do, everywhere you go and every penny you spend is monitored by your own government's agencies.  You should do what we've done over here - abandon all that socialist claptrap and start making iPhones.
  • He is Skynet's first successful foray into human replacement. He doesn't need to blink. He does so to appear human, and sometimes he just overdoes it ok? LOL