Eight tech companies have called on the government to limit spying to specific targets, overhaul the country’s secret spy courts, and let service providers publish more detailed information about surveillance requests. Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn issued an open letter to President Obama and Congress last night while taking out full-page ads in The New York Times and other newspapers.

The companies outline five steps they believe governments around the world should take and called on the US to pave the way by implementing them first.

They said “governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes and should not undertake bulk data collection of Internet communications.” There should be a clear legal framework to regulate spying, and “[r]eviewing courts should be independent and include an adversarial process, and governments should allow important rulings of law to be made public in a timely manner so that the courts are accountable to an informed citizenry.”     

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