‘Stop spying on people!’ – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

The big names in tech have spoken, and they’re not happy with the surveillance policies of the world’s governments. So much so in fact that they have formed the Reform Government Surveillance group an alliance whose sole aim is to change the way that internet users are being spied upon. The site details the changes that the group wants the governments of the world to make as well as an open letter to the US government urging it to lead the way in the reform by “ensure (sic) that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.”

The group sites the principles that it wishes all governments would change as being:

  1. Limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information
  2. Oversight and accountability
  3. Transparency about government demands
  4. Respecting the freer flow of information
  5. Advert

  6. Avoiding conflict about governments

The site contains statements from the like of Google’s CEO Larry Page and Facebook’s head honcho Mark Zuckerburg who are lending their weight to the fight personally. The reason for the mission is summed up rather succinctly by Microsoft’s head legal eagle Brad Smith (General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft)

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”

In other words, if you keep spying on people they won’t trust us and we won’t make any more money. Lack of altruism aside we hope that the endeavour will result in some changes to the PRISM loving ways of the NSA so that we don’t have to look over our digital shoulders every time we open up our internet browsers.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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A handful of maize seed, especially precious because it is of the improved, drought tolerant variety TAN 250, which yields even in times of drought. This was developed and registered for sale in Tanzania through CIMMYT's Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project, in partnership with Tanzanian seed company Tanseed International Limited. It is based on material from CIMMYT-Zimbabwe, CIMMYT-Mexico, and Tanzania. 

For more about TAN 250 and the longstanding collaboration between Tanseed and CIMMYT, see CIMMYT's June 2009 e-news story "No maize, no life!" available online at:

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