Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple Demand Improved NSA Transparency

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple Demand Improved NSA TransparencySome of the top names in tech are putting their brands and media leverage behind a new effort intending to facilitate improved consumer privacy.

Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are among those engaging with a new civil rights alliance that is demanding greater transparency from the U.S. government’s surveillance programs.

The alliance was forged following confirmation of America’s PRISM data mining initiative.

According to published reports Thursday, the group will ask America’s leaders to remove restrictions that limit what information companies can divulge regarding government requests for sensitive data.

In a letter to be published Thursday, the alliance — whose members include 63 companies, investors, non-profits and trade organizations — will call upon President Obama and congressional leaders to allow Internet, telephone, and Web-based service providers to report national security-related requests for information with greater specificity.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,” a copy of the letter obtained by AllThingsD reads. “We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities. This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use.”