Also on board are facebook, apple, yahoo, AOL and the online networks twitter and linkedin. Companies are struggling to regain the trust of users, which has been shattered by the uncovered snooping by the us intelligence services.
The action shows how upset companies have become about spying on their systems and against their users. So far, the U.S. Government, military and intelligence agencies have been on the side of the U.S. High-tech industry when in doubt. The state is one of the midwives of silicon valley.
Rust companies like lockheed martin brought production and engineers to california. During the cold war, the arms race was a key driver for investment in electronics research. The nucleus of the internet was also created in the 1960s with massive state support.
In the internet arena, the relationship between the industry and the state has long remained largely untroubled. When google became the target of a crude hacking attack from china, google co-founder larry page turned to senior u.S. Investigators, according to media reports.
It seems that at the time, the main targets were google user accounts of chinese dissidents. The case also strained relations between peking and washington. The internet industry could rely on the politicians in washington in case of doubt.
But with more and more revelations in the wake of the nsa scandal, trust has been put to the test. After the first reports on the prism monitoring program in june, the companies still steadfastly repeated the practically word-for-word wording that they did not grant authorities direct access to their servers. Google demanded already then to be allowed to name the exact number of secret service requests for user data – a demand that has not been fulfilled until today.
In recent weeks, however, the distance has become rougher and the tone cooler. The government "blew it," facebook chief mark zuckerberg declared in a rather juvenile choice of words. Patience is finally wearing thin after the "washington post" wrote that the NSA systematically taps user data between the data centers of google and yahoo and possibly also microsoft.
Microsoft chief legal officer brad smith spoke of an "earthquake". At google, board chairman eric schmidt declared that such an action would have been illegal. The internet companies now want to protect themselves with all-round closure.
One can certainly assume that they have economic motives for their protest: if users lose confidence in the services "made in the USA", this will sooner or later also be reflected in the balance sheets of google, microsoft, facebook& co. Knockdown. "Spying is bad for the internet. And what’s bad for the internet is bad for silicon valley," argues u.S. Professor jeff jarvis. "And what is bad for the silcon valley, (…) is also bad for america."
It’s worth taking a look at the list of participants in the initiative. Interesting who is missing. So no telecom company like AT&T and verizon or level 3, a provider of data pipelines, is participating in the protest action. The interfaces for the nsa data suckers are supposed to be located in this very network.
Even the world’s largest online retailer amazon, which operates a massive cloud infrastructure for many internet companies, is not among them. Amazon’s name did not appear in the NSA papers released so far. Does the NSA’s data collection frenzy stop at amazon? The company is also seeking a contract to operate the internal data cloud of the US intelligence agency CIA.
The coalition of internet giants does not seem to be of one mind: apple did sign the open letter to the weibe house and the u.S. Congress. The logo with the bitten apple is missing from the call for a worldwide reorganization of the intelligence services. Compared to google and facebook, apple is trying to position itself as a company that does not need to accumulate massive amounts of data about its users.