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Iran Press TV

Top web firms call for transparency on GCHQ activities

Iran Press TV

Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:47PM GMT

Top internet companies have urged the British government to allow more transparency on Britain's eavesdropping agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) activities.

In a joint statement to British MPs, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Twitter demanded more transparency on the GCHQ capabilities, saying there is increasing public concern over the agency's massive surveillance programs.

This comes after classified documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the GCHQ was secretly accessing the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has been sharing the data with its American counterpart, the NSA.

'We recommend that requests for user data made by the UK government are made as transparent as possible,' said the statement.

'Each of our companies already publishes a transparency report and, as public concern grows around the world about the scale of digital surveillance, we believe that greater transparency is important in encouraging a full public debate and maintaining confidence that powers are not being abused," it added.

According to The Guardian, the memo was signed by Emma Ascroft from Yahoo! Europe, Becky Foreman from Microsoft UK , Theo Bertram from Google UK , Sinead McSweeney, the director of public policy for Europe at Twitter and Simon Milnedirector of public policy at Facebook UK.

Earlier last week, former Conservative Home Office minister Lord Blencathra said MPs should be given a vote on the intelligent services' surveillance programs which allow examining global internet activities.

Blencathra's comments come after another Conservative peer Lord MacDonald criticized MI5 for resisting the calls for more transparency and scrutiny on the GCHQ.


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