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Google, Microsoft give thumbs-up to proposed NSA restrictions

Google Microsoft NSA Legislation

You get the feeling that major tech companies want the National Security Agency reined in almost as much as digital rights activists do, if only because the NSA’s snooping may be hurting their bottom lines. The Hill reports that Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other big-name tech companies this week endorsed proposed bipartisan legislation that would place new restrictions on the NSA’s data collection powers, including ending the NSA’s bulk phone metadata collection program, beefing up barriers against targeting Americans for surveillance and requiring the government to delete any data inadvertently scooped up from Americans who aren’t related to investigations during data mining operations.

In a joint letter endorsing the bill, the tech companies said that the bills’ proposals for greater transparency would “help to counter erroneous reports that we permit intelligence agencies ‘direct access’ to our companies’ servers or that we are participants in a bulk Internet records collection program.” Microsoft and Google this past summer filed a lawsuit against the federal government that demanded the government lift restrictions on what the companies can disclose publicly about NSA data requests. The tech industry in general has complained that revelations about the NSA’s data collection practices have hurt their reputations among foreign governments and corporate partners.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.