Posted by Tom Foremski - December 15, 2013
On the day celebrating the Bill of Rights, a coalition of San Francisco and Bay Area activists groups and lawyers, issued an open letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, strongly rebuking her for not providing essential oversight over NSA spying, from her position as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and demanding she resign.
Organizers of the coalition said that California's tech industry is vulnerable to the loss of large contracts and there's harm to the state's economy because of the NSA's unchecked operations.
Senator Dianne Feinstein has been very protective of NSA operations rather than chastising the agency for violating policies and laws protecting the privacy of US citizens. [Dianne Feinstein's Bragging About NSA Surveillance Program May Finally Result In It Being Declared Unconstitutional | Techdirt]
Silicon Valley's response to the NSA spying has lacked a united front and seems distracted by continual revelations of spying on "cloud" data centers, other governments, and foreign corporations.
Last week, Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, AOL, and Microsoft signed a letter critical of the NSA and bulk data collection. [The Major Tech Companies Missing From the Surveillance Reform Letter | TIME.com]
Tech split on NSA...
It shows the divide in the US tech industry, missing are IBM, Cisco, Intel, Dell, Oracle, and many other tech giants. It's precisely these companies that have massive contracts with US government agencies. Criticism of the NSA is an understandable concern, it's not something that will help them win contracts. However, they will have to weigh their losses in overseas markets against their silence on this issue domestically.
The next earnings season for these tech giants will undoubtedly bring this issue to the fore as shareholders question performance in overseas markets, which represent more than half of revenues for most tech companies. There are already signs of slowing sales for IBM and Cisco.
The coalition is asking voters to sign their letter. I was told that there is a special encryption technology being used to mask the email address that digital signers have to provide for verification and that it is encrypted and then destroyed.
Here is an extract:
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We, the constituents of Senator Dianne Feinstein, are dismayed and embarrassed by her decision to defend unconstitutional surveillance. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she is required to oversee data surveillance to protect her constituents and all Americans. Instead, she has decided to use this moment of crisis to expand surveillance powers to include all bulk data collection. Feinstein has betrayed our trust and support that has sustained her for decades. To regain that trust, she must make amends by resigning as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and withdrawing her NSA legalization bill.
Shame on Feinstein Coalition Signatories: